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Features Court Decisions Digest

An overview of important court decisions affecting workplace rights. Updated weekly.

Select a court circuit from the map below or from this list.

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Second Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in Connecticut, New York, and Vermont

Simmons v. N.Y. City Transit Authority (No. 08-4079)

Decision Date: August 3, 2009

In a dispute involving attorney's fees, district court judgment is vacated and remanded where the court erred in awarding attorney's fees to plaintiff's based on the prevailing hourly rates in the district where her counsel was based, rather than where the suit was litigated, as plaintiff did not satisfy the exception to the forum rule for attorney's fees.

Sousa v. Roque (No. 07-1892)

Decision Date: August 21, 2009

In an action by a public employee claiming that defendants retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment for reporting workplace violence, summary judgment for defendants is vacated where the speaker's motive is not dispositive of whether the speech is on a matter of public concern.

Halpert v. Manhattan Apts., Inc. (No. 07-4074)

Decision Date: September 10, 2009

In an Age Discrimination in Employment Act action regarding a statement by a third party retained by defendant that plaintiff was too old for the position at issue, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where an employer may be held liable for discrimination by third parties, including independent contractors, that the employer authorizes to make hiring decisions on its behalf.

Seidemann v. Bowen (No. 08-3922)

Decision Date: October 15, 2009

In a First Amendment action alleging that a professor's union impermissibly charged plaintiff a pro rata share of expenses unrelated to the union's collective bargaining duties, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where: 1) a public-sector union's political activities aimed at securing a new contract may be chargeable to nonmembers if those activities are pertinent to the union's role as a collective bargaining representative; 2) nonmembers may be required to subsidize lobbying efforts undertaken by a "parent" union of the local public-sector union if the lobbying is related to collective bargaining and may ultimately inure to the benefit of local union members; 3) the district court erred in upholding the union's charges to nonmembers for (a) political activity undertaken to secure a new contract, (b) lobbying by the local union's state affiliate, (c) costs incurred to send union delegates to the state affiliate's annual convention, and (d) the salaries of the union'! s employees; 4) the district court erred in dismissing plaintiff's challenge to the union's charges for media communications by its national affiliate; and 5) it erred in holding, sua sponte, that plaintiff will be required to arbitrate future claims against the union before filing suit.

Leibowitz v. Cornell Univ. (No. 07-4567)

Decision Date: October 23, 2009

In a gender and age discrimination action by an employee of a university, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed in part where plaintiff failed to produce evidence of an express or implied contract to continue her employment. However, the order is reversed in part where: 1) in the circumstances here, a non-renewal of an employment contract itself was an adverse employment action and the district court erred in requiring plaintiff to show the existence of an unofficial tenured position to satisfy the adverse action requirement; and 2) the circumstances surrounding the non-renewal of her contract gave rise to an inference of age or gender discrimination.

Wilson v. CIA (No. 07-4244)

Decision Date: November 12, 2009

In a First Amendment action claiming that the CIA was required to allow former employee Valerie Plame Wilson to publish a memoir about her tenure at the agency, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff, and not the agency, permitted the classified information at issue to be revealed to the public; and 2) further, the public disclosure did not deprive the information of classified status, and the agency demonstrated good reason for adhering to its classification decision. A former CIA agent cannot use her own unauthorized disclosure of classified information to challenge the CIA's ability to maintain the information as classified.

EEOC v. United Parcel Serv., Inc. (08-5348)

Decision Date: November 19, 2009

In the EEOC′s appeal from a denial of its petition to enforce an administrative subpoena issued to UPS seeking information about how religious exemptions to UPS′s Uniform and Personal Appearance Guidelines were handled nationwide, the order is reversed where the district court, in finding that national information was not relevant to the charges being investigated by the EEOC, applied too restrictive a standard of relevance.

Duch v. Jakubek (No. 07-3503)

Decision Date: December 4, 2009

In a sex discrimination action claiming that defendant-supervisor should have prevented the harassment of plaintiff taking place, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed in part where: 1) plaintiff was not deprived of all reasonable avenues of complaint; and 2) defendants could not be liable based on information that plaintiff requested be kept confidential but which was conveyed to a co-worker. However, the order is reversed in part where a reasonable jury could conclude that the employer defendants: 1) knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known, of the harassment directed at plaintiff; and 2) failed to take appropriate remedial action.

Reiseck v. Universal Comms. of Miami, Inc. (No. 09-1632)

Decision Date: January 11, 2010

In an action alleging sex discrimination and failure to pay overtime wages, summary judgment for defendants is vacated in part and the matter is remanded where, because plaintiff's primary duty was the sale of advertising space, she was properly considered a "salesperson" for the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and therefore did not fall under the administrative exemption to the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA.

Hanrahan v. Riverside Nursing Home (No. 09-0585)

Decision Date: January 25, 2010

In an employment discrimination action, the dismissal of the complaint based on the res judicata effect of a prior state administrative proceeding is vacated where the state court's dismissal was not a decision on the merits that would preclude the filing of a renewed state court action.

DeRosa v. Nat'l. Envelope Corp. (No. 08-2562)

Decision Date: February 17, 2010

In an action alleging discrimination on account of a medical disability, summary judgment for defendant is vacated where plaintiff's statements on his job application did not judicially estop him from bringing his Americans with Disabilities Act claim because those statements did not contradict plaintiff's position on the critical issue of whether he was able to fulfill the essential functions of his employment with reasonable accommodation

Spiegel v. Schulmann (No. 06-5914)

Decision Date: May 6, 2010

In an action claiming that defendants violated the anti-retaliation provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related state laws by terminating plaintiffs as karate instructors, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed in part where: 1) the district court properly concluded that there is no individual liability for retaliation claims brought under the ADA; and 2) the district court correctly determined that plaintiffs failed to state a claim under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). However, the judgment is vacated in part where the district court needed to consider in the first instance whether obesity was a disability under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).

Zakrzewska v. The New School (No. 09-0611)

Decision Date: June 22, 2010

In a sexual harassment action, following the New York Court of Appeals\' answer to a certified question, a denial of summary judgment to defendant is affirmed where the affirmative defense to employer liability articulated in Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775 (1998), and Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998), does not apply to sexual harassment and retaliation claims under section 8-107 of the New York City Administrative Code.

Vivenzio v. City of Syracuse (No. 08-2436)

Decision Date: July 1, 2010

In an action alleging racial discrimination by a city fire department, summary judgment for defendants is vacated where the record did not establish as a matter of law that the city's continued reliance on racial considerations in the hiring of firefighters was justified by a prior consent decree.

In re Novartis Wage & Hour Litig. (No. 09-0437)

Decision Date: July 6, 2010

In an action by pharmaceutical company salespersons for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), summary judgment for defendant is vacated where, under the Department of Labor's regulations, the salespersons were not outside salesmen or administrative employees for purposes of the FLSA.

Henry v. Wyeth Pharms., Inc. (No. 08-1477-cv)

Decision Date: August 4, 2010

In an action for racial discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII, judgment for defendants is affirmed in part where, although a reasonable juror could certainly have considered certain remarks by plaintiff's colleagues discriminatory, they have little probative value in the context of the case. However, the judgment is vacated in part where the district court's instruction on causation was erroneous because a causal connection was sufficiently demonstrated if the agent who decides to impose the adverse action but is ignorant of the plaintiff's protected activity acts pursuant to encouragement by a superior (who has knowledge) to disfavor the plaintiff.

Faghri v. Univ. of Conn. (No. 09-1862-cv)

Decision Date: September 17, 2010

In an action claiming that defendants unconstitutionally retaliated against plaintiff for his exercise of his right to free speech in violation of the First Amendment and violated his right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment when they removed him from his position as dean, a denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity is reversed where plaintiff had no clearly established right to remain as dean while voicing opposition to the policies of the team he was hired to be part of.

Myers v. Hertz Corp. (No. 08-1037)

Decision Date: October 27, 2010

In an action asserting claims against Hertz Rental Car for overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and various provisions of New York state law, a denial of class certification is affirmed where the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Hertz's common policy demonstrated little regarding whether the constituent issues that bore on Hertz's ultimate liability were provable in common.

Morin v. Tormey (No. 09-2960)

Decision Date: November 15, 2010

In an action alleging that plaintiff was subjected to adverse employment actions in violation of the First Amendment because of her refusal to assist the defendants in gathering adverse information about a Family Court judge to aid their efforts to prevent the judge's election to a higher judicial office, a denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity is affirmed where neither the defense of qualified immunity nor defendant's alleged status as a policymaker had been established as a matter of law at this stage of the litigation.

Cenzon-DeCarlo v. Mt. Sinai Hosp. (No. 10-0556)

Decision Date: November 23, 2010

In an action claiming that plaintiff nurse was compelled by her supervisors to participate in a late-term abortion, suffering serious emotional harm as a result, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where there was no evidence that Congress intended to create a right of action under 42 U.S.C. section 300a-7(c).

Scott v. City of N.Y. (No. 09-5232)

Decision Date: December 1, 2010

In an appeal from the district court's order awarding plaintiff's counsel attorney's fees pursuant to section 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the order is vacated where, because the district court did not explain the basis on which counsel was excepted from the requirement that attorneys submit contemporaneous time records with their fee applications, the court was unable to divine whether the district court abused its discretion in granting such an exception.

Kuebel v. Black Decker Inc (No. 10-2273)

Decision Date: May 1, 2011

The district court's grant of summary judgment for B & D on the commute time claims is affirmed, the grant of summary judgment for B & D on the off-the-clock claims is vacated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Fleischman v. Albany Medical Center (10-0846)

Decision Date: May 3, 2011

Because this petition was filed more than eighteen months after Rule 23(f)'s deadline for interlocutory appeals, it is dismissed on the ground that petitioners have not filed a timely petition with respect to an order reviewable pursuant to Rule 23(f).

Newspaper Guild v. Hearst (10-2402)

Decision Date: May 17, 2011

In a dispute involving the application of an arbitration provision contained in an expired collective-bargaining agreement, summary judgment in favor of plaintiff is affirmed where the contractual right to checkoff of union dues survives expiration of the agreement, thus subjecting the parties' dispute to arbitration.

Scott v. City of New York (No. 09-3943 )

Decision Date: May 24, 2011

In a dispute involving the scope of the Carey rule as applied to the award of attorney's fees and arising from the Fair Labor Standards Act's fee shifting provision, 29 U.S.C. section 216(b), judgment of the district court is reversed because a district court's personal observation of an attorney's work is not by itself a sufficient basis for permitting a deviation and awarding fees in the absence of contemporaneous records

Ridinger v. Dow Jones & Co. (No. 10-1771)

Decision Date: July 11, 2011

In a labor and employment dispute concerning a claim of age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. section 621 et seq., and state law, judgment of the district court dismissing complaint is affirmed on the basis of a separation agreement entered into by the parties in connection with the termination of plaintiff\'s employment, in which plaintiff agreed to waive and release all claims, including claims under the ADEA.

Bergerson v. Office of Mental Health (No. 10-1040)

Decision Date: July 21, 2011

In a dispute arising from a Title VII and state law action alleging disparate treatment and a hostile work environment, 42 U.S.C. sections 2000e-17 and N.Y. Exec. Law sections 290-301, judgment of the district court is affirmed where the court properly held that the plaintiff abandoned her state law claims, but reversed where the court, without holding a separate inquest into backpay and without submitting the issue to the jury, improperly denied plaintiff's claim to backpay on the ground that the magnitude of the jury's award ensures that plaintiff will be made whole for her injuries, including for any lost wages, and for any pain, suffering, or emotional distress

Mullins v. City of New York (No. 09-3435)

Decision Date: August 5, 2011

In a dispute alleging denial of overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. section 201 et seq., judgment of the district court in favor of defendant, and on deference to the Secretary of Labor's interpretation of her own regulations, is reversed where the professional duty of plaintiffs, Police Department sergeants, is not management and thus does not qualify them for the bona fide executive exemption from the overtime pay requirements of the FLSA.

Briscoe v. City of New Haven (No. 10-1975 )

Decision Date: August 15, 2011

In a dispute involving a disparate-impact challenge to defendant's promotion practices and where the plaintiff, an African-American firefighter for the City of New Haven, alleges that the firefighter promotion exams challenged in Ricci were arbitrarily weighted thus yielding an impermissible disparate impact, judgment of the district court is reversed where the court erred in dismissing the claim as necessarily foreclosed by Ricci

Novella v. Westchester County (No. 09-4061 )

Decision Date: November 3, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court arising from a class complaint under ERISA, judgment is affirmed where the court correctly awarded summary judgment to the lead-plaintiff on his individual claims for miscalculation of benefits, but reversed where the court erred in certifying the class and granting certain class judgments because the six-year statute of limitations began to run when each pensioner knew or should have known that the defendants had miscalculated the amount of his pension benefits such that some of the plaintiffs' claim may be stale.

Nagle v. Marron ( No. 10-1420 )

Decision Date: December 12, 2011

In a Section 1983 suit brought by a public school special education teacher against a school district, the school's principal and the superintendent of schools, summary judgment in favor of defendants is vacated and case remanded where: 1) teacher made a prima facie showing that retaliation in violation of the First Amendment free speech guarantee caused her to be denied tenure; 2) rebuttal by appellees was subject to credibility questions that could not be resolved as a matter of law; 3) principal and superintendent of schools were not entitled to qualified immunity; and 4) "cat's paw" theory of district's Section 1983 liability required District Court hearing.

Tiberio v. Allergy Asthma Immunology of Rochester (No. 11-2576)

Decision Date: December 20, 2011

District court judgment dismissing the plaintiff's disability discrimination claim against her former employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act as untimely is affirmed where the plaintiff did not comply with the Act's requirement that a claim be filed within 90 days of the claimant's receipt of a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC. Although the plaintiff may have filed her claim within 90 days of her counsel's receipt of the letter, the limitations period begins to run on the date that the letter is first received either by the claimant or by counsel, whichever is earlier

NLRB v. County Waste of Ulster, LLC (No. 10-3359)

Decision Date: January 6, 2012

United States Second Circuit, 01/06/2012
NLRB v. County Waste of Ulster, LLC, No. 10-3359
In a National Labor Relations Board administrative proceeding charging that an employer violated section 8(a)(2) of the National Labor Relations Act by allowing a union to distribute a bonus to its employees when an election was pending, judgment by a panel of the Board finding a violation is affirmed, where: 1) the Board's review of the case was adequate; and 2) two members of the panel, who had entered a decision that was vacated and remanded pursuant to the US Supreme Court's decision in New Process Steel, L.P. v. NLRB, 130 S. Ct. 2635 (2010), which forbids a two-member panel of the Board to decide a case when the Board itself consists only of two members, properly participated in the panel that reviewed the case on remand.

Lore v. City of Syracuse (No. 09-3772)

Decision Date: February 2, 2012

In a case alleging illegal retaliation against a city police officer under Title VII and the New York State Human Rights Law (HRL) because of her complaints of gender discrimination, the district court's judgment is: 1) affirmed in part where the city's arguments regarding the availability of reputation damages, evidentiary and instructional errors, and excessive damages for emotional distress presented no basis for disturbing the judgment; and 2) vacated in part where there was merit in plaintiff's contentions regarding the liability of the city's corporation counsel, and the district court erred in dismissing her principal gender discrimination claims under the HRL on the basis that she had suffered no materially adverse employment action.

Arditi v. Lighthouse International (No. 11-423)

Decision Date: March 9, 2012

In an employee's suit against his employer for breach of contract with respect to pension benefits: 1) the district court's denial of the plaintiff's motion to remand the case to state court is affirmed, because the claims were preempted by ERISA, the suit had been properly removed to federal court, and the district court had federal jurisdiction over the case; and 2) the district court's dismissal of the action for failure to state a claim is affirmed, where the plaintiff conceded his employer's authority to amend the pension plan in the way that affected his benefits.

Brown v. City of Syracuse (No. 10-0529)

Decision Date: March 13, 2012

In a suit by a former police officer against the city that employed him and certain police officers, alleging racial discrimination and disparate treatment in his suspension and ultimate firing, summary judgment in favor of the defendants on all claims is affirmed, where: 1) the law of the case doctrine did not preclude summary judgment, as nothing in the Second Circuit's previous opinion in the case controlled the district court's rulings being appealed; 2) the suspension without pay pending an investigation into the plaintiff's criminal conduct was not an adverse employment action under the circumstances; and 3) the plaintiff had no constitutionally recognized cause of action for deprivation of "professional courtesy" that police sometimes extend to their fellow officers.

Redd v. New York State Division of Parole (No. 10-1410)

Decision Date: May 4, 2012

The judgment of the district court is vacated to the extent that it dismissed the plaintiff's hostile work environment claim of sexual harassment, and the matter is remanded for further proceedings on that claim, where: 1) a factfinder crediting the plaintiff's version of the events could permissibly infer that a female supervisor's repeated touching of the plaintiff's breasts constituted discrimination against Redd because of her sex in violation of Title VII; and 2) to the extent that an affirmative defense relieving the defendant employer from liability for the actions of it employee was available, the record suggested that there were factual issues to be tried.

NLRB v. Starbucks Corp. (No. 10-3511)

Decision Date: May 10, 2012

In a case alleging various unfair labor practices on the part of an employer, its cross-petition for review of the NLRB's affirmance of an ALJ decision is granted insofar as the NLRB concluded that: 1) the employer's policy of allowing employees to wear only one union button violated section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act; and 2) the discharge of two employees violated section 8(a)(3) of the Act, with remand necessary as to one employee for determination of whether an employee's outburst in which obscenities are used in the presence of customers loses otherwise available protection if the employee is off duty although on the employer's premises.

Chin v. Port Authority of N.Y. and N.J. (No. 10-1904 )

Decision Date: July 10, 2012

In a suit brought by a group of Asian Americans currently or formerly employed as police officers by the Port Authority under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. section 2000e et seq., alleging that they were passed over for promotions because of their race, the District Court's judgment is: 1) affirmed in part where the district court properly admitted background evidence predating the onset of the limitations period and that there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable juror to conclude that the Port Authority discriminated against the seven prevailing plaintiffs within the limitations period; and 2) vacated in part where district court erred in a) submitting the pattern-or-practice disparate treatment theory to the jury in this private, nonclass action, b) concluding that the "continuing violation" doctrine applied to the plaintiffs' disparate impact theory so that the jury could award back pay and compensatory damages for harms predating the onset of the statute of limitations

Ramos v. Baldor Specialty Foods, Inc. (No. 11-2616 )

Decision Date: July 12, 2012

In a suit brought by "captains" of wholesale food warehouses, for unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages and attorneys' fees and costs, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and an analogous section of New York Labor Law (NYLL), the District Court's grant of summary judgment for defendants on all claims on the ground that plaintiffs are "executives" exempt from the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA and NYLL is affirmed, as the summary judgment record allows for no conclusion other than that each team of employees supervised by plaintiffs is a customarily recognized subdivision of defendants' company with a permanent status and function, and plaintiffs therefore qualify as "executives" as that term is defined by Department of Labor regulations and are exempt from the overtime-pay protections of the FLSA and NYLL.

Messier v. Bouchard Transportation (No. 10-5181)

Decision Date: July 20, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against his former employer, a tugboat operator, seeking maintenance and cure for contracting lymphoma while working as a seaman for the defendant, the district court erred in granting summary judgment for the defendant in concluding that the disease did not "manifest" itself during the plaintiff's service, as plaintiff's illness indisputably occurred during his service and thus, he is entitled to maintenance and cure regardless of when he began to show symptoms.

M.O.C.H.A. Soc'y, Inc. v. City of Buffalo (No. 11-2184 )

Decision Date: July 30, 2012

In a Title VII suit against the City of Buffalo (City) claiming race discrimination in the administration of the 1998 and 2002 promotional examinations for the position of fire lieutenant, district court's judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed where: 1) on plaintiffs' disparate impact challenge to the 1998 examination, the district court did not clearly err in finding that the defendant carried its burden to demonstrate that the examination's job relatedness by showing that the test derived from a valid statewide job analysis indicating the fire lieutenants across New York performed the same critical tasks required the same critical skills and in finding that the Civil Service Department exercised reasonable competence in designing the examination and that the examination was both content related and representative; 2) on plaintiffs' disparate treatment challenge, the district court correctly concluded that plaintiffs could not re-litigate questions of job relatedness and business necessity decided against them at the bench trial of their disparate impact claims and that plaintiffs had not established a genuine material of fact that the City intentionally discriminated against African Americans by using the 1998 test results; and 3) on plaintiffs' Title VII challenge to the 2002 examination, the district court correctly relied on collateral estoppel to grant summary judgment in favor of the City because the only matters in dispute had been resolved in the earlier challenge to the 1998 examination and there was sufficient identity between the plaintiffs in both suits.

Wobel v. City of Erie, (No. 10-5179 )

Decision Date: August 1, 2012

In plaintiff's suit for retaliation against his former employer and certain employees under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed, as plaintiff has not sustained his burden of creating a genuine issue of fact as to whether his mistreatment was the result of his lack of political allegiance to the new administration, and even if plaintiff has identified speech that touches on a matter of public concern, he has failed to show an adverse employment action or a causal connection between the speech and employment conditions that he deems adverse.

Bucalo v. Shelter Island Union Free Sch. Dist. (No. 10-1516 )

Decision Date: August 10, 2012

In a suit for age discrimination and retaliation against a school district, district court's judgment in favor of the school district is affirmed, as plaintiff was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law because elements of her prima facie case for both age discrimination and retaliation were disputed, and the school district satisfied its burden of production under the second step of McDonnell Douglas framework.

Donnelly v. Greenburgh Cent. Sch. Dist. No. 7 (No. 11-2448 )

Decision Date: August 10, 2012

In a former high school teacher's suit against a school district, alleging that he was unlawfully denied tenure in retaliation for having taken protected leave pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), district court's judgment in favor of the school district is reversed and remanded where: 1) plaintiff has presented a genuine issue of material fact as to whether he worked enough hours to be eligible for FMLA leave; 2) the standard governing review of allegedly unlawful university tenure denials is inapplicable to such denial in public high schools; and 3) plaintiff has presented enough evidence of FMLA retaliation to survive a motion for summary judgment.

Trustees of the Local 138 Pension Trust Fund v. F.W. Honerkamp Co., Inc. (No. 11-1322)

Decision Date: August 17, 2012

In a suit brought by trustees of a pension plan against an employer, claiming that the Pension Protection Act of 2006 prevented the employer from withdrawing from the pension plan after the plan entered critical status, district court's grant of employer's motion for summary judgment is affirmed, as in enacting the PPA, Congress did not intend to prevent employers from withdrawing from multiemployer pension plans in critical status.

Janese v. Fay (No. 11-5369)

Decision Date: August 27, 2012

In an ERISA action against present and former trustees and plan managers of plaintiffs' pension funds for breach of fiduciary duty, the judgment of the district court is affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded where: 1) dismissal of the Counts I-V was proper because the trustees were not acting as fiduciaries in amending the plan, as there are ample justification to deem that the Supreme Court's opinions in Curtiss-Wright, Lockheed, and Hughes Aircraft have abrogated Chambless and Siskind with respect to multi-employer plans; 2) dismissal of Counts VII-IX is vacated as issues of fact remain; and 3) the district court properly denied the motion to amend following its denial of the motion for reconsideration.

Noel v. New York State Office of Mental Health Cent. New York Psychiatric Ctr. (No. 10-3483)

Decision Date: August 31, 2012

District court's holding that defendant improperly made income tax, Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax and other deductions from a Title VII judgment for back and front pay in favor of plaintiff, in plaintiff's wrongful termination suit, is reversed in part and remanded, as payments pursuant to Title VII judgments for back and front pay are "wages" as defined under the Internal Revenue Code and, as such, employers are required to withhold income and Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes. However, district court's judgment with respect to the state's re-payment to plaintiff of amounts withheld for retirement contributions and union dues, as well as the court's award of attorney's fees is affirmed.

Long v. Office of Pers. Mgmt. (No. 10-1600)

Decision Date: September 5, 2012

In plaintiffs' suit brought pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, against the Office of Personnel Management for withholding from disclosure the names and duty-station information of over 800,000 federal employees, the judgment of the district court is: 1) affirmed in part where the district court properly held that Exemption 6 permits defendant to withhold the names of employees working in the sensitive agencies and sensitive occupations; and 2) reversed in part where the district court erred in holding that some of the duty-station information could be withheld, as defendant has demonstrated that employees possess a cognizable privacy interest in their duty-station records de-linked from their names, and this interest clearly outweighs the public interest that might be served by disclosure.

Ross v. Breslin (No. 10-5275)

Decision Date: September 10, 2012

In a school district employee's suit wrongful termination, claiming in relevant part that her termination was a violation of her First Amendment rights because she reported financial malfeasance to the school district's superintendent and to the Board of Education, district court's denial of defendants' motion for summary judgment is reversed where plaintiff's speech was not protected by the First Amendment because she was speaking pursuant to her official duties as a public employee, and therefore defendant is entitled to summary judgment on the First Amendment retaliation claim.

EEOC v. Karenkim, Inc. (No. 11-3309 )

Decision Date: October 19, 2012

In a motion by the EEOC to amend the judgment to impose injunctive relief following a jury verdict against defendant for sexual harassment and fostering a sexually hostile work environment, judgment denying said injunctive relief is vacated and remanded where: 1) the district court was obliged to craft injunctive relief sufficient to prevent further violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by the individual who directly perpetrated the egregious sexual harassment at issue in this case; and 2) it was an abuse of discretion not to do so.

Barenboim v. Starbucks Corp., Winans v. Starbucks Corp. (No. 10-4912, 11-3199 )

Decision Date: October 23, 2012

In appeals heard in tandem from awards of summary judgment in favor of defendant Starbucks Corp. against a) putative class of baristas in Case 10-4912 holding that N.Y. Labor Law section 196-d did not prohibit distributing pooled tips to shift supervisors who were not deemed "agents" under the statute, and b) putative class of Assistant Store Managers (ASMs) in Case 11-3199 holding that section 196-d did not require including ASMs in its tips pools, the Court defers decision and certifies the questions of: 1) the meaning of the word "agents" under the N.Y. statute, 2) whether Department of Labor's New York State Hospitality Wage Order applies, and if so, does it apply retroactively; and 3) whether an employer may exclude an otherwise eligible tip-earning employee from receiving distributions from a common tip pool under N.Y. labor law.

Cement and Concrete Workers v. Metro Foundation Contractors Inc. (No. 11-1214 )

Decision Date: October 25, 2012

In appeal from plaintiff's damage award of various employee benefit funds, $26,328.11 in unpaid contributions owed by defendant pursuant to ERISA, liquidated damages, and costs, judgment is affirmed where the district court did not err in using the method of calculating damages set out in the collective bargaining agreement, because parties are free to agree to an alternate method of calculating damages when an employer fails to provide relevant records, without offending the requirement that damages be proven with reasonable certainty.

McElwee v. County of Orange (No. 11-4366 )

Decision Date: November 15, 2012

In appeal from summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's claims under the American with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, judgment is affirmed because plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence below to raise a genuine issue of fact as to whether he was discriminated against because of his disability, where: 1) plaintiff's sexual harassment of female employees rendered him unqualified to perform an essential function of his job; 2) his inappropriate behavior is indisputably a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for dismissing him from the volunteer program, even if the behavior resulted from his disability; and 3) plaintiff has not met his burden of showing that the proposed accommodations are plausible and they are unreasonable on their face, as a matter of law.

Sousa v. Marquez (No. 12-403 )

Decision Date: December 13, 2012

In 1983 action alleging a violation of a constitutional right to access to the courts based on a state governmental official's purported concealment of relevant facts in the course of a prior civil employment-related suit, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed, where: 1) even assuming that so-called "backward looking" right-of-access claims are viable in this Circuit, such claims cannot proceed if the plaintiff, asserting that the government concealed or manipulated relevant facts, was aware of the key facts at issue at the time of the earlier lawsuit; and 2) district court's opinion in the prior suit demonstrates that the court did not rely on statements or omissions in defendant's report, and therefore plaintiff has not shown that defendant's purported actions caused a violation of his rights.

Looney v. Black (No. 11-3486)

Decision Date: December 21, 2012

In 1983 action against defendant town and officials alleging deprivation of procedural due process and free speech rights when plaintiff' position was reduced from full to part time and not reappointed as the town's Building Official after he made statements regarding the use of wood-burning stoves, judgment for plaintiff is reversed and remanded, where: 1) defendant Black was entitled to qualified immunity as to plaintiff's procedural due process claim, because plaintiff did not adequately allege that he had a constitutionally protected property right in full-time employment; and 2) defendant officials were entitled to qualified immunity as to plaintiff's claim under the First Amendment, because plaintiff did not adequately allege that he spoke in his capacity as a private citizen.

Rivera v. Rochester Genesee Regional Transp. Auth. (No. 11-762 )

Decision Date: December 21, 2012

In action against employer and supervisor alleging discrimination based on national origin and race, and retaliation, summary judgment for defendants is: 1) vacated where genuine issues of material fact exist as to plaintiff Rivera's hostile work environment claims; 2) vacated were genuine issues of material fact exist as to all of plaintiff Talton's claims; and 3) affirmed as to summary judgment for defendants on Rivera's remaining claims, including his claims of retaliation.

MacDermid, Inc. v. Deiter (No. 11-5388 )

Decision Date: December 26, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against its former employee for unauthorized access and misuse of a computer system and misappropriation of trade secrets in violation of Connecticut laws, district court's dismissal of the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction is reversed and remanded where the foreign defendant's use of a computer in Connecticut satisfied the jurisdictional requirement of both the Connecticut long-arm statute and due process.

Rochester Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. (No. 10-3448)

Decision Date: January 17, 2013

Petitions for review of decision of the National Labor Relations Board finding that petitioner had engaged in unfair labor practices when it refused to bargain over the effects of its decision to discontinue its policy of permitting Union members to take company vehicles home at night are denied, and the NLRB order is enforced in its entirety, where: 1) the collective bargaining agreement allowed petitioner to make changes in its employee work practices and to control the use of company property; but 2) those provisions did not clearly and unmistakably allow the petitioner to forgo any negotiation with the Union over the effects of the Vehicle Policy Change, nor did they clearly and unmistakably waive the Union's right to bargain over the effects of the Vehicle Policy Change; and 3) the NLRB did not abuse its considerable discretion in granting the modified Transmarine remedy awarding back pay to the affected employees for the lost value of no longer being able to use company vehicles after work.

Selian v. Astrue (12-871)

Decision Date: February 21, 2013

Judgment upholding defendant's determination that plaintiff was not disabled for the purpose of Social Security disability insurance benefits, is vacated and remanded, where: 1) the Administrative Law Judge erred in her treatment of plaintiff's claim that he suffered from fibromyalgia by failing to accord the proper weight to the opinion of plaintiff's treating physician, by misconstruing the record, and by failing to evaluate the claim in light of medically accepted diagnostic criteria; 2) the ALJ's determination that plaintiff could perform light work was not supported by substantial evidence; and 3) the ALJ further erred by not determining whether plaintiff's reaching limitation was non-negligible and would therefore require the testimony of a vocational expert. - See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/summary/opinion/us-2nd-circuit/2013/02/21/262784.html?DCMP=NWL-cons_humanresource#sthash.muCXHxPu.dpuf

McMillan v. City of New York (No. 11-3932)

Decision Date: March 4, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant-employer on plaintiff's action under the Americans with Disabilities Act is vacated and remanded, where: 1) the district court's determinations with regard to plaintiff's disability discrimination and failure to accommodate claims was based on an incomplete factual analysis, facts which tend to undermine the defendant's claim that a specific arrival time is an essential function of plaintiff's position; 2) plaintiff has suggested plausible accommodations, meeting his burden at this stage of the analysis; and 3) as a matter of law, plaintiff's suggested accommodations do not appear to constitute undue hardships to the defendant and are therefore not unreasonable.

Bechtel v. Administrative Review Board (No. 11-4918)

Decision Date: March 5, 2013

Petition for review of order dismissing petitioner's whistleblower retaliation claim under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is denied, where: 1) although the Administrative Law Judge used an incorrect burden-shifting framework, the error was immaterial; and 2) the Administrative Review Board applied the correct standard in reviewing petitioner's claim and did not otherwise act arbitrarily, capriciously, or not in accordance with law

United Steel v. Cookson America, Inc. (No. 12-1032 )

Decision Date: March 18, 2013

Summary judgment for plaintiff union was proper, where: 1) the district court correctly interpreted the parties' Facility Closure Agreement that it required defendants to pay a retiree medical allowance to certain eligible employees; and 2) plaintiff, as a party to that agreement, had standing to enforce it even where the benefits of enforcement accrued to third-party retirees

Parisi v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., (No. 11-5229 )

Decision Date: March 21, 2013

District court improperly denied defendants' motion to compel arbitration of plaintiff Parisi's gender discrimination claim, and the order is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the arbitration agreement compelled arbitration of individual claims but not class claims; and 2) private plaintiffs do not have a substantive right to bring a Title VII class action utilizing the pattern-or-practice method of proof.

SDBC Holdings, Inc. v. NLRB (No. 10-3709)

Decision Date: March 28, 2013

Petition for review of respondent-NLRB's decision that petitioner engaged in unfair labor practices in connection with its failure to give a union representing some of its employees a 2007 audited financial statement that the union sought during collective bargaining, is granted, and the NLRB's petition to enforce its decision is denied, where: 1) the NLRB's determination that petitioner asserted an inability to pay was not sufficiently supported by the evidence; 2) the NLRB erred in applying established law to the facts in this case; and 3) even assuming that petitioner had an obligation to provide the Union with the 2007 Financial Statement, the NLRB's finding that petitioner failed to satisfy this obligation is also insufficiently supported by the evidence.

Singer v. Ferro (No. 11-3919)

Decision Date: April 1, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant-government officials on plaintiff-public employees' claims that defendants retaliated against them for exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and of political association, is affirmed, where neither the "Absolut Corruption" parody created by plaintiff Singer, nor the plaintiffs' lawsuit, were what the law considers to be, for these purposes, speech as a citizen on a matter of public concern.

Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. Morgan Stanley Inv. Mgmt. Inc. ( No. 10-4497)

Decision Date: April 2, 2013

In an action alleging that a pension plan administrator purchased and continued to hold certain mortgage-backed securities in violation of its fiduciary duties under ERISA, the District Court's dismissal is affirmed where the amended complaint fails to allege facts supporting the plausible inference that defendant knew or should have known that the particular mortgage-backed securities in the portfolio were imprudent investments, as a decline in market price of a type of security does not, by itself, give rise to the reasonable inference that it was imprudent to purchase or hold that type of security.

Sotomayor v. City of New York (No. 12-2319)

Decision Date: April 11, 2013

Summary judgment in favor of defendants in employment discrimination suit is affirmed, where: 1) the district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of defendants for substantially the reasons articulated by the district court in its thorough and well-reasoned Memorandum, Order & Judgment; and 2) even it is assumed that defendants' actions resulted in an adverse employment action, no reasonable jury could find that such actions were motivated by a retaliatory animus.

Mihalik v. Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America, Inc. (No. 11-3361)

Decision Date: April 26, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant on plaintiff's claims of gender discrimination and retaliation under the New York City Human Rights Law, is vacated and remanded, where under the broader standards of the City law, there are genuine disputes of material fact as to both plaintiff's claims that require a trial.

Kelly v. Howard I. Shapiro & Associates Consulting Engineers, P.C. (No. 12-3489)

Decision Date: April 26, 2013

Dismissal of plaintiff's complaint for retaliation alleging that her employers retaliated against her after she complained about a supervisor's affair with a co-worker, is affirmed, where because there is no indication that plaintiff believed that her sex had anything to do with her treatment or that defendants could have understood her statements as such, she failed to establish a prima facie case for retaliation under Title VII or the NYSHRL.

US v. City of New York (No. 11-5113)

Decision Date: May 14, 2013

In civil rights action brought by the United States, alleging racial discrimination in the hiring of New York City firefighters: 1) summary judgment on the disparate treatment claim against defendant-city is vacated; 2) dismissal of the federal claims against Mayor Bloomberg is affirmed; 3) dismissal of the state law claims against Mayor Bloomberg and the Fire Commissioner is affirmed; 4) dismissal of the federal law claims against the Fire Commissioner is vacated; 5) the injunction against defendant-city with respect to the hiring of entry-level firefighters is modified, and, as modified, is affirmed; and 6) the bench trial on the liability phase of the discriminatory treatment claim against defendant-city is reassigned to a different district judge.

CARCO GROUP, Inc. v. Maconachy (No. 11-4445)

Decision Date: May 21, 2013

Judgment for plaintiffs and award of attorneys' fees in breach of contract action and related claims is: 1) vacated as to the district court's judgment and awards with respect to plaintiffs' breach of contract claim and remanded for further findings as to proximate causation; 2) vacated as to the award of attorneys' fees and remanded for recalculation of those fees following the district court's determination as to whether plaintiffs proved proximately-caused damages on the contract claim; 3) reversed with regard to the district court's decision that attorneys' fees should be reduced by twenty percent across-the-board, and the denial of interest on the attorneys' fees awards; and 4) affirmed in all other respects.

Carrion v. Agfa Construction, Inc. (No. 11-1767 )

Decision Date: June 13, 2013

In an employment discrimination action, the District Court did not err in dismissing plaintiff\'s prevailing wage claim, denying him punitive damages, or in denying his motion for a new trial with respect to damages, where: 1) the Davis-Bacon Act bars third-party private contract actions, brought under state law, aimed at enforcing the Act's prevailing wage schedules, because such claims are clearly an impermissible end run around the Act; 2) there was no evidence by which a jury could reasonably conclude that defendant\'s conduct was driven by an evil motive or intent, or that it involved a reckless or callous indifference to plaintiff\'s federally protected rights; and 3) the jury could have reasonably concluded that plaintiff had not proven actual damages as a result of defendant\'s discriminatory conduct.

Cappiello v. ICD Publications, Inc. (No. 12-2636)

Decision Date: June 18, 2013

Following judgment for plaintiff in a breach of contract/employment action, the district court correctly, and constitutionally, held that plaintiff was entitled to post-judgment interest at the rate set forth in 28 U.S.C. section 1961, and not the post-judgment interest rate provided for in New York C.P.L.R. section 5004, notwithstanding that the judgment had been entered in a diversity action and had been docketed by plaintiff in a New York state court

Cunningham v. New York State Department of Labor (No. 123)

Decision Date: June 27, 2013

The State's action of placing a global positioning system (GPS) device on the care of a government employee, who was being investigated for submitting false time reports, was a search within the meaning of the State and Federal Constitutions, which did not require a warrant, but on the facts of this case it was unreasonable in its scope

Barenboim v. Starbucks Corporation (No. 122)

Decision Date: June 26, 2013

In response to certified questions from The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit regarding defendant's tip-splitting policy under N.Y. Labor Law section 196-d: 1) an employee whose personal service to patrons is a principal or regular part of his or her duties may participate in an employer-mandated tip allocation arrangement under Labor Law section 196-d, even if that employee possesses limited supervisory responsibilities, but an employee granted meaningful authority or control over subordinates can no longer be considered similar to waiters and busboys within the meaning of section 196-d and, consequently, is not eligible to participate in a tip pool; and 2) defendant's decision to exclude assistant store managers from the tip pool is not contrary to Labor Law section 196-d.

Irizarry v. Catsimatidis, No. 11-4035 (No. 11-4035)

Decision Date: July 9, 2013

In a wage and hour class action, partial summary judgment for a class of plaintiffs concluding that defendant-owner of defendant supermarket was the plaintiffs' "employer" is: 1) affirmed in part, where the district court did not err in determining that defendant-owner was an employer under the Fair Labor Standards Act so as to hold him jointly and severally liable for damages along with the corporate defendants; but 2) vacated in part and remanded on the claims under the New York Labor Law.

Palma v. National Labor Relations Board (No. 12-1199 )

Decision Date: July 10, 2013

Petition for review of orders of the defendant-National Labor Relations Board principally denying backpay to undocumented alien petitioners who had been discharged by their employer in violation of the National Labor Relations Act, is: 1) granted in part to the extent that the matter is remanded to the Board for consideration of issues relating to petitioners' request for conditional reinstatement; but 2) otherwise denied.

Sutherland v. Ernst & Young LLP (No. 12-304 )

Decision Date: August 9, 2013

The district court's order denying defendant's motion to dismiss and to compel arbitration of plaintiff's putative class action brought by plaintiff-employee to recover overtime wages pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), is reversed and remanded, where: 1) The FLSA does not include a "contrary congressional command" that prevents a class-action waiver provision in an arbitration agreement from being enforced by its terms; and 2) in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, 133 S. Ct. 2304 (2013), plaintiff's argument that proceeding individually in arbitration would be "prohibitively expensive" is not a sufficient basis to invalidate the class-action waiver provision at issue here under the "effective vindication doctrine."

Gerstenbluth v. Credit Suisse Securities (No. 12-4125)

Decision Date: August 27, 2013

In an action seeking a refund of Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) taxes withheld by defendant-employer and collected by defendant IRS on a $250,000 settlement payment made by defendant- employer to plaintiff for his agreement to withdraw his Age Discrimination in Employment Act complaint which he filed after defendant-employer terminated his longtime employment, dismissal of the complaint against defendant-employer and summary judgment for defendant IRS are affirmed, where the district court did not err in concluding that the settlement payments constituted "wages" received "with respect to employment" under 26 U.S.C. section 3121, and was thus subject to FICA taxes

Muhammad v. Walmart Stores East, L.P. (No. 12-4773 )

Decision Date: October 9, 2013

The district court's order imposing sanctions on plaintiff's attorney for asserting that her client had pled a gender discrimination claim that he had not is reversed and vacated, where: 1) the district court misapplied the relevant legal standard; and 2) the record before the district court could not sustain a finding that plaintiff's attorney was in bad faith in asserting that plaintiff's pro se complaint included a claim of gender discrimination.

Kreisberg ex rel. National Labor Relations Board v. HealthBridge Management, LLC (No. 12‐4890 )

Decision Date: October 15, 2013

The district court's order granting a petition by the National Labor Relations Board, to temporarily enjoin alleged unfair labor practices by defendants, is affirmed, where: 1) it is unnecessary to reach the issue of the validity of the President's recess appointments to the Board; 2) the Board may contingently delegate power to authorize such petition to the Board's General Counsel; 3) such delegations, made in 2001 and 2002, were in effect here; 4) the petition at issue was properly authorized by the General Counsel pursuant to those delegations; and 5) the district court did not otherwise abuse its discretion in granting the petition in this case.

Frommert v. Conkright (No. 12-67 )

Decision Date: December 23, 2013

In an action for the recovery of benefits under an employer's retirement plan, the district court's decision upholding the plan administrator's proposed offset is vacated and remanded, where the proposed offset is an unreasonable interpretation of the retirement plan and that violates ERISA's notice provisions

Matusick v. Erie County Water Authority (No. 11-1234 )

Decision Date: January 6, 2014

Judgment for plaintiff in an action alleging employment discrimination and harassment is: 1) affirmed in part, where plaintiff presented sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find, as this jury did, that the defendants were liable on his state-law discrimination claims, and the award of backpay is undisturbed; 2) reversed in part, where although the plaintiff sufficiently alleged a constitutional violation, the relevant constitutional rights during the time in question were not clearly established and therefore the individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity so the award of punitive damages against the individual defendants is vacated; 3) affirmed in part, where there was sufficient evidence presented to the jury for a reasonable fact-finder to determine that the municipal defendant was liable on plaintiff's claim under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, so the award of punitive damages on this claim was proper; and 4) affirmed in part, where the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney's fees to the plaintiff in an amount substantially less than the amount claimed.

Rivera v. Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (No. 11-762 )

Decision Date: February 10, 2014

Judgment for defendant-employer on plaintiff-employees' claims that they were subjected to a hostile work environment on the basis of race and national origin and were retaliated against for complaining about the hostile work environment is: 1) vacated in part and remanded, where genuine issues of material fact exist as to plaintiff Rivera's hostile work environment claims and as to all of plaintiff Talton's claims; but 2) affirmed in part, as to plaintiff Rivera's claims of retaliation. (Amended opinion)

Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Donegan (No. 12-4881 )

Decision Date: February 4, 2014

Summary judgment in favor of Vermont finding that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) does not preempt a Vermont statute and regulation requiring self-insured employee health plans to report to the state, in specified format, claims data and "other information relating to health care," is reversed and remanded, where Vermont law, as applied to compel the reporting of plaintiff's plan data, is preempted.

Matusick v. Erie County Water Authority (No. 11-1234 )

Decision Date: February 25, 2014

Judgment for plaintiff in an action alleging employment discrimination and harassment is: 1) affirmed in part, where plaintiff presented sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find, as this jury did, that the defendants were liable on his state-law discrimination claims, and the award of backpay is undisturbed; 2) reversed in part, where although the plaintiff sufficiently alleged a constitutional violation, the relevant constitutional rights during the time in question were not clearly established and therefore the individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity so the award of punitive damages against the individual defendants is vacated; 3) affirmed in part, where there was sufficient evidence presented to the jury for a reasonable fact-finder to determine that the municipal defendant was liable on plaintiff's claim under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, so the award of punitive damages on this claim was proper; and 4) affirmed in part, where the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney's fees to the plaintiff in an amount substantially less than the amount claimed. (Amended opinion)

First Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island

Sensing v. Outback Steakhouse of Florida, LLC (No. 08-1865)

Decision Date: August 11, 2009

In an employment discrimination action, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where: 1) plaintiff established a prima facie case of discrimination under state law as she put forth evidence that defendant regarded plaintiff as handicapped, that she was still able to perform the essential functions of the job despite the handicap, and that she suffered an adverse employment action as a result of her handicap; and 2) a reasonable jury could find that the removal of plaintiff from the work schedule was predicated on impermissible discrimination rather than a permissible legitimate concern about her ability to perform the job safely.

Velez v. Thermo King De Puerto Rico, Inc. (No. 08-1320)

Decision Date: October 16, 2009

In plaintiff's age discrimination suit against his former employer, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant is vacated and remanded as, under the three stage burden shifting framework set forth in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), several aspects of the evidence, taken together, are more than sufficient to support a factfinder's conclusion that defendant was motivated by age-based discrimination, thus raising a genuine issue of material fact that defeats summary judgment.

Calvao v. Town of Framingham (No. 09-1648)

Decision Date: March 17, 2010

In police officers' putative class action suit against a town claiming that the town failed to pay them sufficient overtime in violation of the FLSA, district court's grant of partial summary judgment holding that the town met the eligibility requirements for the public safety exception is affirmed where: 1) plaintiffs' argument that the town was required to notify affected employees before establishing a valid work period under section 207(k) is rejected; 2) the text of the statute, as well as caselaw, confirm that a public employer need only establish a section 207(k) compliant work period to claim the exemption's benefits without explicitly giving notice to affected employees, and here, the town has done so and is entitled to judgment; and 3) plaintiffs' claim that the district court abused its discretion by denying their motion to strike certain evidence is rejected.

Rosario v. Dep't of the Army (No. 08-2168)

Decision Date: June 2, 2010

In plaintiff's suit against the Department of the Army and others, claiming that sexual harassment by her co-worker at an Army medical clinic subjected her to a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII, district court's grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment is vacated and remanded as a reasonably jury could find that plaintiff met her burden to show conduct that created a hostile work environment within the meaning of Title VII.

Galera v. Johanns (No. 08-2435)

Decision Date: July 14, 2010

In plaintiff's suit for retaliation under Title VII against the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, claiming that the USDA engaged in discriminatory employment and recruitment practices against him in retaliation for having engaged in protected activity, district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment is affirmed as plaintiff's claims are barred as the alleged retaliatory conduct occurred prior to the effective date of the parties' settlement agreement, and the agreement complied with the relevant regulation.

Vera v. McHugh (No. 08-1886)

Decision Date: October 6, 2010

In plaintiff's Title VII suit claiming that she was sexually harassed by a co-worker and subsequently by a supervisor at a Fort Buchanan Army garrison in Puerto Rico, and then fired in retaliation for filing her sexual harassment complaints, judgment of the district court is affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded where: 1) district court's grant of summary judgment for the defendant on the sexual harassment claim against the supervisor is vacated and remanded as it cannot be ruled as a matter of law that the circumstances of plaintiff's employment did not constitute a hostile work environment; 2) the district court was well within its discretion in finding that plaintiff was not entitled to the benefit of equitable estoppel in her harassment claim against her co-worker; 3) it would be impossible for a rational jury to conclude that the supervisor's actions from October 2004 through mid-May 2005, which were taken in ignorance of plaintiff's sexual harassment complaint against the co-worker, were motivated by his desire to retaliate against her for those complaints; and 4) it would not be reasonable for a jury to conclude that the supervisor's actions were motivated by plaintiff's sexual harassment complaint against him.

Melendez v. Autogermana, Inc. (No. 09-1804)

Decision Date: October 12, 2010

In plaintiff's age discrimination in employment suit, district court's dismissal of the discriminatory discharge claim and denial of plaintiff's motions for reconsideration are affirmed where: 1) there is insufficient evidence to draw the inference that impermissible age discrimination was the determinative factor in plaintiff's termination; and 2) there was no abuse of discretion in the district court's denial of plaintiff's motions for reconsideration, as plaintiff failed to point to any manifest error of law in the district court's judgment dismissing his ADEA claim.

Vega-Colon v. Wyeth Pharm. (No. 09-1861)

Decision Date: October 28, 2010

In plaintiff\'s suit against his employer, claiming that the employer discriminated and retaliated against him based on his military service in violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and Puerto Rico law, district court\'s grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer is affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded where: 1) because plaintiff has not shown evidence of discrimination other than the fact of non-selection and membership in the protected class, defendant is entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff\'s claim that defendant\'s failure to hire him for the reliability engineer position violated USERRA; 2) plaintiff has not made the requisite showing under USERRA that his military status was a motivating factor in defendant\'s decision to award a low performance rating; 3) the district court erred in granting summary judgment on the issue of whether defendant\'s extension of the Performance Improvement Plan was an improper discriminatory action, as the evidence is sufficiently strong that a reasonable jury could find in plaintiff\'s favor; 4) plaintiff has failed to raise a cognizable claim with respect to the issue of being denied facility access; 5) there is no basis for the jury to conclude that plaintiff was subject to a hostile work environment; and 6) plaintiff has failed to establish that defendant retaliated against him in violation of USERRA for filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans\' Employment Training Services.

Ahern v. Shinseki (No. 09-1985)

Decision Date: December 13, 2010

In a suit brought by radiology technologists in the diagnostic imaging service at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center, under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, claiming gender-based discrimination, retaliation, and constructive discharge, the district court\'s entry of summary judgment in favor of the employer is affirmed where: 1) because the employer did not refuse to hire any of the plaintiffs, the record presents no trialworthy issue as to discriminatory hiring; 2) plaintiffs\' retaliation claim fails on the merits and the employer has articulated a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for each of the challenged actions, and the plaintiffs have adduced no significantly probative evidence tending to show that the proffered reasons were a pretext masking a retaliatory animus; and 3) the fact that the vast majority of the employees who worked under defendant, male and female, were subject to the same treatment and chose to stay, underscores the absence of any foundation for a claim of constructive discharge.

Penalbert-Rosa v. Fortuno-Burset (No. 09-2391)

Decision Date: January 31, 2011

In a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, alleging that a government employee's termination violated her federal constitutional rights to freedom of speech and association, due process, and equal protection, dismissal of the complaint is affirmed as to the named defendants, but the case is remanded to allow plaintiff to move promptly to add a "John Doe" defendant, where it is evident that someone fired her based on political party membership.

Cintron-Lorenzo v. Fondo del Seguro del Estado (No. 10-1020)

Decision Date: February 7, 2011

In a woman's civil rights suit under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, alleging sexual harassment and discrimination by her employment supervisor at a Puerto Rican government insurance fund, dismissal of equal protection claims is affirmed where they were filed after the statute of limitations had run.

Wilson v. Moulison North Corp. (No. 10-1387)

Decision Date: March 21, 2011

In a labor and employment dispute alleging a hostile, racial working environment, summary judgment in favor of employer is affirmed where the employer, when notified of the hostile environment, took prompt and appropriate corrective action.

Rios-Colon v. Toledo (No. 09-2296)

Decision Date: March 30, 2011

In a Title VII dispute alleging racial discrimination during the course of employment, Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal by district court on the grounds that Title VII applies to employers, not individual supervisors, is affirmed in part and vacated in part where the complaint plausibly alleged claims of racial discrimination and Equal Protection violations.

Aponte Rivera v. DHL Solutions USA, Inc. (No. 10-1655)

Decision Date: May 25, 2011

In a Title VII action alleging gender discrimination, district court's remittitur of $150, 000 is affirmed where court's finding that although the evidence produced at trial was sufficient to show a hostile work environment, the evidence did not support the amount of damages awarded did not constitute an abuse of discretion.

Hernandez-Miranda v. Empresas Diaz Masso, Inc. (No. 10-1639)

Decision Date: June 29, 2011

In a Title VII dispute involving the proper interpretation of the caps on compensatory and punitive damages under 42 U.S.C. section 1981a(b)(3), judgment of the trial court reducing jury award is reversed where "current" year for purposes of section 1981a(b)(3) liability refers to the year of the discrimination

Mendez-Aponte v. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (No. 09-2534)

Decision Date: July 8, 2011

In an civil rights action arising from the termination of plaintiff from his employment as the Assistant Secretary of State for Protocol Affairs at the Puerto Rico State Department, 42 U.S.C. sections 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986, and 1988, summary judgment in favor of defendant and Rule 11 sanctions are affirmed where plaintiff's political affiliation was an appropriate basis for dismissal and the impostion of sanctions was not an abuse of discretion

Valle-Arce v. Puerto Rico Ports Authority (No. 10-1102)

Decision Date: July 8, 2011

In a labor and employment action alleging violations of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. section 12101 et seq., judgment of the district court is reversed where it improperly granted, in a short oral ruling, defendant's oral motion for judgment as a matter of law

Cahoon, Jr. v. Shelton (No. 10-2134)

Decision Date: July 22, 2011

In a class-action dispute arising from the termination of certain benefits paid to retired firefighters and police officers, judgment of the district granting defendant partial summary judgment is affirmed where the plaintiffs, with the exception of two who succeeded in making out a claimant-specific case for estoppel, failed to show any basis in law or in equity sufficient to force payment of retirement benefits

Roman-Oliveras v. PREPA (No. 09-1503 )

Decision Date: August 18, 2011

In an employment action for unlawful discrimination on the basis of a medical condition and hostile work environment, judgment of the district court dismissing complaint by plaintiff who suffered schizophrenia throughout the period of his employment is reversed where complaint stated plausible discrimination based on the perception that plaintiff is disabled, but affirmed where Title I of the ADA does not provide for liability against individuals who are not themselves employers, and in all other respects

Tuli v. Brigham and Women's Hosp. ( No. 08-2026)

Decision Date: August 29, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court awarding plaintiff damages and a permanent injunction in a Title VII and state law action for gender-discrimination and retaliation, judgment is affirmed where the court committed not error and correctly awarded plaintiff $1,352,525.94 in attorneys' fees under the lodestar calculation.

Fryer v. A.S.A.P. Fire and Safety Corp., Inc. (Nos. 10-2047;  11-1021)

Decision Date: September 9, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court awarding damages and attorneys' fees against defendant for violating the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. Sections 4311 et seq., and related state claims, judgment is affirmed over challenges on the grounds that: 1) Massachusetts anti-discrimination law, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151B, is preempted by the USERRA; 2) the jury determination of willfulness was unsupported; and 3) the damages and attorneys' fees awards were excessive.

OfficeMax, Inc. v. Levesque (No. 10-2423)

Decision Date: September 12, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court enjoining appellants from working in office supply sales within a certain locale based on the parties' noncompetition agreements, judgment is reversed where under the plain language of subject agreements, the one-year noncompetition period was triggered in 1996, when plaintiff's predecessor in interest purchased all of the shares of the appellants' employer.

Velazquez-Ortiz v. Vilsack (No. 10-1787)

Decision Date: September 22, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court granting summary adjudication in favor of the defendant in plaintiff's Title VII and ADEA claims, judgment is affirmed where plaintiff did not exhaust the required administrative remedies on her Title VII claim as she failed to raise it in an antecedent EEO complaint and because no reasonable factfinder could conclude that age was a motivating factor in defendant's decision to bypass plaintiff for a promotion.

Rodriguez-Sanchez v. Municipality of Santa Isabel (No. 09-2635)

Decision Date: September 29, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiffs' Section 1983 action on summary adjudication, judgment is affirmed where the district court correctly concluded that plaintiffs had failed in their burden of producing evidence sufficient to show their terminations constituted due process deprivations or were politically motivated

Bhatti v. Trustees of Boston University (No. 10-2342 )

Decision Date: October 3, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing, on summary adjudication, plaintiff's Title VII and Section 1981 action for discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment, judgment is affirmed where plaintiff failed to establish evidence of actual animus because the record does not support plaintiff's claim of scheduling and treatment disparities

Colon Fontanez v. Municipality of San Juan (No. 10–1026)

Decision Date: October 12, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of defendant in a Title VII and Rehabiliation Act action for disability discrimination in violation of the ADA, judgment is affirmed where the record supported summary judgment and because the court correctly: 1) refused to consider evidence for which no corresponding English translation was provided; 2) admitted summary charts prepared by a paralegal employed by the defendant-appellees' law firm; and 3) dismissed, sua sponte, plaintiff's equal protection claim.

Ramos-Echevarria v. Pichis (No. 10-1522)

Decision Date: October 21, 2011

In an appeal from an order of the district court dismissing plaintiff's ADA claim that defendant-employer discriminated against him on the basis of his epilepsy, judgment is affirmed where defendant's condition does not render him disabled within the meaning of the ADA, and because the court did not abuse its discretion in declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's state claims.

Candelaria v. Orthobiologics LLC (No. 09-2305)

Decision Date: October 25, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing, as untimely, plaintiff's ERISA action filed three years after he suffered a disability while employed by the defendant, judgment is reversed on principles of equity because subject Plan was amended to provide a limitations period only after plaintiff had filed a claim and was in the middle of an internal appeals process.

National Labor Relations Board v. United States Postal Service (No. 11-1225)

Decision Date: October 27, 2011

In an application for enforcement of an order of the petitioner compelling the disclosure of certain aptitude test scores to a Union for purposes of collective bargaining, petition is denied where employees have a legitimate and substantial privacy interest in their test scores and because the petitioner failed to engage in a balancing of interests

Field v. Napolitano (No. 11-1339 )

Decision Date: November 10, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing appellant's complaint for employment discrimination on account of his disability and retaliation under the Rehabilitation Act, judgment is affirmed where the Aviation and Transportation Security Act precludes a cause of action under the Rehabilitation Act.

Farris v. Shinseki (No. 11-1080 )

Decision Date: November 10, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing appellant's disability discrimination complaint for failure to timely file a formal complaint with the EEOC, judgment is affirmed where the court's finding of no equitable exception was not an abuse of discretion.

Baiser v. IUE Local 201 (No. 10-2488 )

Decision Date: November 16, 2011

In an appeal from an order dismissing plaintiff's labor complaint on summary judgment, order is affirmed where plaintiff's allegations of wrongdoing on the grounds of impermissible reclassification of her employment position and breach of the duty of fair representation fail under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act.

Barry v. Moran (No. 10-1607)

Decision Date: November 22, 2011

In an appeal from an order of the district court dismissing plaintiffs' Section 1983 complaint alleging violations of their First Amendment right to be free of employment discrimination on the basis of political affiliation, judgment is affirmed because the choice of plaintiffs not to associate with politically-powerful members of the Boson Fire Department is not political or otherwise constitutionally protected conduct.

Hines v. State Room Inc. (No. 10-2298 )

Decision Date: November 28, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court granting partial summary judgment to defendant-employers in plaintiff's complaint for unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (Act), judgment is affirmed where the court correctly applied governing legal principles in finding that plaintiffs' work involved sufficient discretion, such that they were administrative employees and thus exempted from overtime compensation under the Act.

Villanueva v. US (No. 10-2431 )

Decision Date: November 30, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiff's Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) complaint for wrongful termination, judgment is affirmed where there was no subject matter jurisdiction under the FTCA because the Government's limited waiver of sovereign immunity is not applicable to constitutional tort claims and because the APA does not apply to Nonappropriated Fund employees.

RI Hospitality Association v. City of Providence (No. 11-1415 )

Decision Date: December 2, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court in defendant\\\'s favor concerning a challenge to the constitutionality of an ordinance of requiring that, when there is a change in the identity of a hospitality employer, that employer must retain its predecessor\\\'s employees, subject to some conditions, for a three-month period, judgment is affirmed where the ordinance is not pre-empted under the National Labor Relations Act, nor does it violates the Equal Protection Clause and the Contract Clause.

Bergemann v. RI Department of Environmental Management ( No. 11-1407 )

Decision Date: December 20, 2011

In an appeal from an order of the district court dismissing plaintiffs' Fair Labor Standards Act complaint on sovereign immunity grounds and summary judgment, order is affirmed where: 1) a state waives its sovereign immunity to a pleaded claim by removing that claim to the federal court only if the removal confers an unfair advantage on the removing state; and 2) plaintiffs had received the full measure of benefits to which they were entitled under a collective bargaining agreement and state law.

Ayala-Sepulveda v. Municipality of San German (No. 10-2123)

Decision Date: January 18, 2012

In a suit under 42 USC section 1983 alleging an employer's sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the district court's grant of summary judgment is affirmed where: 1) allegations regarding events occurring prior to the one-year statute of limitations period were time-barred because the plaintiff did not demonstrate that he was subjected to a hostile work environment to which the continuing violation doctrine could apply; 2) the plaintiff's retaliatory transfer claim failed because there was no evidence of actual disparate treatment; and 3) the plaintiff's claim that he was transferred on the basis of his sexual orientation failed because there was no evidence that he was treated differently than others similarly situated.

Munoz v. Sociedad Espanola de Auxilio Mutuo y Beneficiancia de Puerto Rico (No. 08-1887)

Decision Date: January 26, 2012

In a retaliation case under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and Puerto Rico's general tort statute known as Article 1802, in which the jury found for the plaintiff, the district court's denial of the defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law and motion for a new trial is affirmed, where: 1) the evidence presented at trial was enough to support the jury's finding of retaliation; 2) the appellants waived defenses based on the statute of limitations, the exclusive remedies bar, and a purportedly erroneous jury instruction; 3) the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable jury to find the requisite fault or negligence to sustain an Article 1802 claim; and 4) the awards of damages and attorney fees were proper. Read more...

Lawson v. FMR,LLC (No. 10-2240)

Decision Date: February 3, 2012

In two separate but related cases under the whistleblower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, alleging unlawful retaliation by employers that are private companies that act under contract as advisers to and managers of mutual funds organized under the Investment Company Act of 1940, the district court's denial of motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim is reversed, as the whistleblower protection afforded by section 806(a) of the Act applies only to the employees of public companies as defined in the Act, and not to an employee of a contractor or subcontractor of a public company reporting suspected violations relating to fraud against shareholders of the public company. Read more...

Nazario-Lugo v. Caribevision Holdings, Inc. (No. 10-1728 )

Decision Date: February 24, 2012

In a suit for breach of an employment contract, the district court\'s dismissal of the complaint is reversed, where the district court exceeded its discretion in its application of the Colorado River factors to dismiss the case in deference to litigation pending in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as that litigation did not display exceptional circumstances that would clearly justify departure from the federal court\'s obligation to exercise jurisdiction in a garden variety federal diversity case requiring only the application of settled principles of state law to an ordinary contract dispute.

Sanchez-Rodriguez v. AT&T Mobility Puerto Rico, Inc. (No. 10-21277)

Decision Date: March 8, 2012

In a suit against the plaintiff's employer alleging religious discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the district court's grant of summary judgment for the employer is affirmed, where: 1) the efforts made by the employer constituted a reasonable accommodation of the plaintiff's religious beliefs; 2) the plaintiff failed to point to any evidence that the employer's reasons for disciplining him were merely a pretext for religious discrimination; and 3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing the plaintiff's request for additional discovery to respond to the summary judgment motion, as the plaintiff failed to demonstrate why he could not have obtained the information he needed to contest the motion prior to the close of discovery.

McDonough v. Donahoe (No. 11-1477)

Decision Date: March 14, 2012

In a suit raising a disability-based hostile work environment claim under the Rehabilitation Act, the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer is affirmed, where: 1) the plaintiff did not prove disability in that she failed to show that her impairment caused her to be substantially limited in any major life activity; and 2) the plaintiff failed to show that her employer regarded her as disabled.

Rojaz-Velazquez v. Figueroa-Sancha (No. 11-1447)

Decision Date: March 29, 2012

In a suit under 42 USC section 1983 alleging that the defendants violated the plaintiff's First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by taking adverse employment actions against him based on political animus and by depriving him of a property interest in the functions of his job without due process, the district court's order of dismissal for failure to state a claim is affirmed, where: 1) the plaintiff did not plausibly allege that his participation in constitutionally protected activities caused curtailment of job functions and perquisites, assuming that such even constituted adverse employment action; and 2) there was no allegation of deprivation of a constitutionally protected property interest as required for the procedural due process claim.

Morales-Cruz v. University of Puerto Rico (No. 11-1589)

Decision Date: April 10, 2012

In a Title VII suit against a university and university officials for gender-based employment discrimination, the district court's grant of the defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is affirmed, where: 1) the allegation that she was held to a different standard because she was a woman did not follow from any factual content set out in the pleading or any reasonable inference therefrom; and 2) the complaint alleged no facts that would support an inference that the university acted on the basis of gender.

Pruell v. Caritas Christi (No. 11-1929)

Decision Date: April 18, 2012

In a putative class action asserting violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by hospitals and health care providers, the district court's judgment is affirmed so far as it found the complaint inadequate to state an FLSA claim, but the dismissal with prejudice is vacated, and the case remanded to give the plaintiffs a final opportunity to file a sufficient complaint, where: 1) some of the information needed may have been in the control of the defendants; 2) the claim looked plausible based on what was known; and 3) the plaintiffs' counsel were genuinely uncertain about the specificity the district court wanted.

Cavallaro v. UMass memorial Health Care, Inc. (No. 11-1073)

Decision Date: April 18, 2012

In lawsuits seeking to represent a potential class of hospital employees who had allegedly been deprived of compensation for certain aspects of their work: 1) the district court's dismissal of one suit is affirmed, where a) removal to federal court and dismissal of all but one claim were proper under the complete preemption doctrine and the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction, because it was necessary for an arbitrator to interpret a collective bargaining agreement to resolve certain claims, and b) a claim under the Massachusetts Fair Minimum Wage Act was barred because the plaintiffs worked in a hospital; and 2) the district court's dismissal of the other suit is vacated and the case remanded for an opportunity to amend the complaint to more specifically identify the employer being sued.

Jones v. Walgreen Co. (No. 11-1917)

Decision Date: May 10, 2012

In a case in which a former employee asserted claims of disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, unlawful retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and similar claims under state-law analogues, the district court's grant of summary judgment to the employer is affirmed, where: 1) the disability discrimination claims failed because no reasonable jury could find that the plaintiff was able to perform the essential functions of her job even with reasonable accommodations; and 2) the plaintiff did not meet her burden of showing that a reasonable factfinder could conclude that the employer acted because of retaliatory motives instead of the legitimate reasons it asserted.

Crowther v. Consolidated Rail Corp. (No. 11-1578)

Decision Date: May 18, 2012

In consolidated negligence actions under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) against two railroad defendants brought by a former employee, the district court's judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed, where: 1) no fact-finder could reasonably have inferred that the plaintiff first became aware of a work connection with his knee pain and neck injury within the period of limitation; 2) there was no error in entering judgment as a matter of law on negligence claims based on inadequate tools and failure to obtain ergonomic studies of the activities required to perform the plaintiff's various jobs; and 3) it was not reversible error to admit collateral source evidence that the plaintiff was receiving disability benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act.

Escobar-Noble v. Luxury Hotels Int'l of Puerto Rico, Inc. (No. 11-1506)

Decision Date: May 24, 2012

In a suit alleging an unlawful retaliatory firing, in which the defendant moved to compel arbitration based on employment agreements containing an arbitration clause, the case is remanded to the district court with instructions to enter an order compelling arbitration, where resolution of the question whether the limitations period for two of the appellant's claims could be validly shortened by an arms-length agreement between employer and employee was for the arbitrator, not the court.

Grajales v. Puerto Rico Port Authority (No. 11-1404)

Decision Date: June 13, 2012

In a suit by a terminated employee of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, alleging political discrimination and local-law claims after the New Progressive Party won the election and plaintiff began experiencing workplace harassment, dismissal is reversed where plaintiff's second amended complaint sets forth sufficient factual content to make out a plausible claim for relief.

Mead v. Independence Association (No. 10-1790)

Decision Date: July 11, 2012

In a suit under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 against an assisted living facilities licensed by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), alleging plaintiff's termination without a hearing infringed her procedural due process rights, and a number of state law claims, the District Court's dismissal of plaintiff's due process claims and state law claims are affirmed where: 1) the living facility operator was a non-state actor and thus could not be held accountable under section 1983; and 2) the complaint failed to allege a constitutional violation by the DHHS employees

Rodriguez-Ramos v. Hernandez-Gregorat (No. 09-2531 )

Decision Date: July 12, 2012

In a suit by a former trust employee of the Metropolitan Bus Authority of Puerto Rico (MBA), against various public officials under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, alleging that a decision not to install him in a career attorney position in the MBA was politically motivated and was effected without due process of law, in violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, the District Court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss all claims is: 1) affirmed as to dismissal of the due process claim as to all defendants, and as well, dismissal of the First Amendment claim as to all defendants, save for defendant Delgado; and 2) vacated as to the First Amendment claim against Delgado, where the complaint adequately alleges his involvement in the reinstatement decision.

Henry v. United Bank (No. 11-1666 )

Decision Date: July 13, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against her former employer, claiming retaliation in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and disability discrimination in violation of Massachusetts law, the magistrate judge's award of summary judgment in favor of the defendant is affirmed as, plaintiff's claims arise from the defendant's decision to terminate employment after plaintiff had exhausted 12 weeks of medical leave.

Cham v. Station Operators, Inc. (No. 11-1988 )

Decision Date: July 16, 2012

In an employment discrimination suit, involving alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), e judgment is affirmed where the district court: 1) did not err in granting the Rule 50 motion to defendant employer; 2) did not abuse its discretion in granting a new trial under Rule 59; and 3) did not abuse its discretion in excluding certain evidence as prejudicial or confusing under Rule 403.

Gove v. Career Systems Development Corporation (No. 11-2468 )

Decision Date: July 17, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against a company alleging that she was denied employment because of her gender and pregnancy at the time of her application, district court's denial of the company's motion to compel arbitration pursuant to an arbitration clause in plaintiff's job application is affirmed, not on the issue of the validity of the agreement as the district court held, but based on the ambiguity concerning the scope of the arbitration clause. Thus, the court found that, because of the obligation under Maine law to construe ambiguities against the drafter of a contract, plaintiff is not required to arbitrate her claims.

Alvarado v. Donahoe (No. 11-1686)

Decision Date: July 19, 2012

In plaintiff's suit for retaliation against his former employer, the United States Postal Service (USPS), district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the USPS is affirmed because plaintiff has not proffered evidence sufficient to establish a prima facie claim of retaliation.

Fernandes v. Agar Supply Co., Inc. (No. 11-1772 )

Decision Date: July 30, 2012

In plaintiff's personal injury suit against the lessor of his employer, for back injuries sustained after stepping into a hole in a shed on lessor's property, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant is affirmed, as under Humphrey v. Byron, a lessor of commercial property has no obligation to make repairs to that property unless he or she contracts to do so, and here, the lease did not obligate defendant to maintain or repair the tire shed.

Palmquist v. Shinseki (No. 11-2110)

Decision Date: August 2, 2012

In a Marine veteran's adverse employment suit under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires federal employers to adopt affirmative action programs for disabled veterans and prohibits discrimination against them, district court's judgment in favor of the defendant is affirmed, as the Act does not entitle plaintiff to relief when retaliation for his complaints about disability discrimination is a motivating factor in, but not the but-for cause of, an adverse employment action.

Nat'l Labor Relations Board v. Int'l Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 251 (No. 11-1818)

Decision Date: August 14, 2012

A petition for review of the order by the National Labor Relations Board (Board) and the Board's application for enforcement of its order is granted as the NLRB erred in finding that the parties' agreement violated section 8(e) of the Act with respect to one of the subcontractors, as the record indicates that the agreement was intended to preserve union jobs, a lawful purpose under the Act.

Espinal v. Nat'l Grid Holdings 2, LLC. (No. 11-1682 )

Decision Date: August 23, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against his employer claiming race-based disparate treatment and hostile work environment in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. section 2000e, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff's disparate treatment claim founders at the third stage of McDonnell Douglas, as the employer's reasons for disciplining plaintiff, on the record, does not allow inferences of pretext or discrimination; and 2) plaintiff has not proffered sufficient evidence to show that his employer knew or should have known about the alleged harassment by other co-workers and failed to take prompt and appropriate remedial action.

Pagan-Colon v. Walgreens of San Patricio, Inc. (No. 11-1089)

Decision Date: September 4, 2012

In an employee's suit against Walgreens for wrongful termination following a two-week absence from his job due to a medical condition, district court's judgment is affirmed where: 1) Walgreens was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law as there was sufficient evidence to permit the jury to conclude that Walgreens' explanations of its reasons for firing plaintiff were pretextual; 2) it did not err in its calculation of the amount of backpay due to plaintiff; and 3) it did not commit clear error in denying plaintiff's request for liquidated damages under the FMLA. With regard to the district court's rejection of the plaintiff's spouse's claim under Puerto Rico's Article 1802 for emotional distress, an issue is certified to the Puerto Rico Supreme Court for clarification.

Torres-Santiago v. Municipality of Adjuntas (No. 10-2248)

Decision Date: September 7, 2012

In plaintiffs' civil rights action against a municipality and various defendants, claiming defendants engaged in unlawful political discrimination in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the laws and Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, district court's award of almost $60,000 in attorney fees against the plaintiffs is reversed and remanded, where plaintiffs' lawsuit was not so frivolous or unreasonable as to justify an award of fees to the defendants.

Cent. Pension Fund of the Int'l Union of Operating Engineers & Participating Employers v. Ray Haluch Gravel Co. ( No. 11-1944 )

Decision Date: September 12, 2012

In a suit brought by a union-affiliated benefit funds against an employer for unpaid remittances covered by a collective bargaining agreement and attorney fees, the judgment of the district court is vacated and remanded where: 1) because no final judgment entered until the district court resolved the contract-based claim for attorneys' fees, the plaintiffs' appeal is timely as to all the issues raised; and 2) the presumption is that the defendant is liable for all hours worked in which employees were shown to have performed some covered work, and until and unless the employer can offer evidence to overcome the presumption, the presumption controls.

Loubriel v. Fondo Del Seguro Del Estado (No. 11-1555)

Decision Date: September 21, 2012

District court's dismissal of plaintiff's suit against her employer, brought under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, is affirmed where plaintiff's suit is untimely because she failed to exhaust her administrative remedies and file her Title I suit within 90 days after receiving the right-to-suit notice from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Jones v. Nationwide Life Ins. Co. (No. 12-1414)

Decision Date: September 26, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against his employer under both federal and state disability laws, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff's own admission that because he had not passed the required exam, another employee was forced to perform certain of plaintiff's job, reinforces that obtaining the license was an essential function; 2) plaintiff did not satisfy his burden of showing facial reasonableness in his failure to accommodate claim; and 3) plaintiff's disparate treatment claim fails because he did not establish that he was qualified to perform the essential functions of his job with or without a reasonable accommodation.

Acevedo-Parrilla v. Novartis Ex-Lax, Inc. (No. 10-2276)

Decision Date: October 10, 2012

In plaintiff's age discrimination suit against his former employer, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer is reversed and remanded where there is sufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude that the employer's reason for terminating the plaintiff was pretextual, and that the true reason for his termination was discriminatory based on his age.

Trainor v. HEI Hospitality, LLC (No. 12-1152 )

Decision Date: October 31, 2012

In plaintiff's age discrimination and retaliation suit against his former employer, judgment of the district court is affirmed for the most part, but vacated where: 1) the $500,000 award for emotional distress damages is vastly out of proportion, even after remittitur; and 2) the district court must adjust its award of multiplied damages on remand.

Matamoros v. Starbucks Corp. (No. 12-1189 )

Decision Date: November 9, 2012

In employees' class action suit against Starbucks, claiming that its policy of allowing shift supervisors to share in the pooled gratuities violated the Tips Act, judgment of the district court is affirmed where: 1) the plain language of the Tips Act states unequivocally that only employees who possess "no managerial responsibility" may qualify as "wait staff"; and 2) remainder of parties' contentions are without merit.

Rodriguez-Machado v. Shinseki (No. 12-1430 )

Decision Date: November 21, 2012

Plaintiff's appeal of the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant in her suit against her former employer for discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), is dismissed where plaintiff's opening brief offers no specific record cites to support her version of the facts.

Awuah v. Coverall N. Am., Inc. (No. 12-1301 )

Decision Date: December 27, 2012

In plaintiffs' suit against their franchisor alleging various claims, including breach of contract, deceptive and unfair business practices, and failure to pay wages, district court's determination that the plaintiffs did not have to arbitrate their claims because they did not have adequate notice of the arbitration clauses contained in the franchise agreements is reversed where: 1) Massachusetts law, which governs this dispute, does not impose any such special notice requirement upon the commercial contractual provisions; and 2) a special notice requirement would be preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act, which requires courts to place such arbitral agreements upon the same footing as other contracts.

Knowlton v. Shaw (No. 12-1251 )

Decision Date: January 4, 2013

In civil rights action against defendant-state officials by plaintiff whose position was terminated pursuant to a consent agreement between defendants and his employer following investigation into the company's sales practices, judgment dismissing complaint is affirmed, where: 1) the state officials carried their burden in establishing they are entitled to absolute immunity for entering into the consent agreements with plaintiff and his employer; 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to invoke the doctrine of judicial estoppel; and 3) the 1985(2) claim was properly dismissed because it failed to allege any racial, or otherwise class-based, invidiously discriminatory animus underlying the state officials' actions.

US v. Deleon (No. 11-2150 )

Decision Date: January 11, 2013

Judgment of conviction and sentence for engaging in a scheme to conceal and avoid defendant's company's employment tax liability is affirmed, where: 1) defendant's counsel agreed to prosecution's submission of three summary charts to the jury so any claim of error is waived; 2) there is no clear error in the district court's adoption of the government's tax loss calculation; 3) it was "abundantly clear" from the record that defendant had reviewed the presentence report and its addenda with her attorney, and therefore there was no plain error in the district court's failure to ask if defendant and her attorney had read and discussed it.

Colby v. Union Security Insurance Co. (No. 11-2270 )

Decision Date: January 17, 2013

In claim against defendant-insurer and plan administrator for long term disability (LTD) benefits under an employee group benefit plan governed by ERISA, judgment awarding LTD benefits to plaintiff for maximum time period available under the plan is affirmed, where: 1) in an addiction context, a risk of relapse can be so significant as to constitute a current disability; 2) under the language of the plan, categorically excluding risk of relapse as a source of disability is simply unreasonable; and 3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding retroactive benefits and plaintiff attorneys' fees.

Gerald v. University of Puerto Rico (No. 11-2143)

Decision Date: January 28, 2013

Summary judgment for defendants is: 1) affirmed on the retaliation claim because plaintiff failed to make a prima facie case; 2) affirmed on the constructive discharge claim, where the transfer within the department and slight commuting inconveniences and costs, was not so intolerable that a reasonable person in plaintiff's place would feel forced to resign as opposed to stay on the job while seeking redress ; and 3) vacated and remanded on the Title VII sexual harassment and state law claims where a reasonable jury could conclude that plaintiff was subject to a hostile work environment, and plaintiff submitted sufficient evidence of a trial-worthy claim that defendant-supervisor used plaintiff's reaction to unwelcome harassment as a basis for decisions that affected the terms of her employment.

US v. Tum (No. 11-1624 )

Decision Date: February 1, 2013

Convictions for violating and conspiring to violate the federal wire-fraud statute are affirmed, where: 1) a fact finder could rationally find the use of interstate wires here, where the electronic transfer of funds involved several states; and 2) there was sufficient evidence for a sensible fact finder to find that defendant and defendant-employer he worked for without telling insurance company paying him disability benefits, agreed on the essential nature of a wire-fraud conspiracy and this agreement is enough to form the essential nature of the plan, even if defendant-employer did not know whether the misrepresentations would be used to defraud an insurance company, the IRS, or someone else.

Kelley v. Correctional Medical Services (No. 11-2246 )

Decision Date: February 6, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant on plaintiff's retaliation claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act is vacated and remanded, where plaintiff has presented sufficient evidence to bring to a jury on the issue of whether defendant's stated reason for her termination was a pretext for retaliatory animus; specifically, a reasonable factfinder could conclude that plaintiff's refusal to obey an instruction from her supervisor served as a convenient pretext for eliminating an employee who had engaged in ADA-protected conduct.

Casiano-Montanez v. State Insurance Fund Corp. (No. 12-1453 )

Decision Date: February 11, 2013

Dismissal of complaint alleging political discrimination and due process violations when plaintiffs were demoted or dismissed because their positions were obtained through internal hiring calls rather than through a competitive process open to the public, is reversed, where: 1) the district court erred in abstaining based on Younger, and dismissal was not the remedy in any event; however, 2) the proceedings are stayed pending the outcome of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court's decision in a related litigation involving the same issue of legality of appointments, based on the Pullman abstention doctrine and the principles of federalism, comity, and sound judicial administration

Flores-Silva v. McClintock-Hernandez (No. 11-2495)

Decision Date: March 11, 2013

District court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's request to amend her discrimination complaint against defendant Puerto Rico State Department and others, where plaintiff failed to diligently and properly move to amend her complaint

Acosta-Ramirez v. Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (No. 12-1887)

Decision Date: April 3, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant is vacated and remanded with instructions to dismiss the matter for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, where: 1) former employee-plaintiffs' failures to comply with the FDIC administrative claims process trigger the statutory bar to their claims for severance; 2) plaintiffs who filed an administrative claim but did not seek timely judicial review are barred; and 3) plaintiffs may not avoid the jurisdictional bar by failing to name the FDIC as a defendant.

Medina-Rivera v. MVM, Inc. (No. 11-2419 )

Decision Date: April 10, 2013

Summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's Title VII claims against defendant-employer is affirmed, where: 1) plaintiff's speculation and failure to advise employer that the alleged phone calls were sexually harassing in nature preclude a sex discrimination claim; and 2) her retaliation claim fails because she cannot meet the materially-adverse action requirement.

Rios-Pineiro v. US (No. 12-1618)

Decision Date: April 15, 2013

Summary judgment in favor of defendant United States in Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) action arising out of plaintiff's termination from the U.S. Post Office, is affirmed, where: 1) the district court correctly concluded that the Postal Service Board of Contract Appeals' (PSBCA) findings precluded re-litigation of the factual issues in plaintiff's FTCA suit; and 2) applying the uncontested facts, summary judgment was properly granted as to plaintiff's FTCA claims for negligent supervision, malicious prosecution, and invasion of privacy by postal inspectors

Johnson v. University of Puerto Rico (No. 12-1621)

Decision Date: April 18, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant in suit alleging gender and national origin discrimination when plaintiff was denied a tenure-track position is affirmed, where: 1) the Ph.D. requirement for tenure-track positions was a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for defendant's actions; and 2) plaintiff did not meet her burden of showing that the articulated reason was pretextual.

Senra v. Town of Smithfield (No. 12-1600)

Decision Date: May 3, 2013

Summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff's claims that he received insufficient procedural due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment in relation to the termination of his employment, and that defendants violated the Rhode Island Constitution and Whistleblowers' Protection Act when it fired him, is affirmed, where: 1) the procedural due process given to plaintiff, which included a pre-deprivation hearing and a post-termination arbitration proceeding, satisfied plaintiff's rights to procedural due process; 2) the district court acted within its discretion in reaching and resolving plaintiff's state law claims; and 3) the district court did not err in resolving the state law claims in defendants' favor.

Clukey v. Town of Camden (No. 12-1555)

Decision Date: May 21, 2013

Dismissal of plaintiff's 1983 action alleging defendant-town deprived plaintiff of a constitutionally protected property interest in his right to be recalled to employment without due process of law is vacated and remanded, where: 1) the district court was correct that plaintiff's complaint alleged a protected property interest in his recall right; 2) plaintiff's uncontested allegation that he received no notice either before or after the defendant-town deprived him of a protected property interest in employment is in itself sufficient to state a procedural due process claim under section 1983; and 3) the district court erred in its conclusion that plaintiff's potential recourse to state law foreclosed his section 1983 claim

Verizon New England, Inc. v. Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (No. 12-2398 )

Decision Date: July 17, 2013

The district court's order dismissing plaintiff's federal court action against the defendant state department of labor and defendant claimant union members, who claimed unemployment benefits following a large-scale work stoppage at plaintiff's facility, is affirmed, but on the singular ground that dismissal is warranted under the Younger abstention doctrine.

Manning v. Boston Medical Center (No. 12-1573)

Decision Date: August 1, 2013

In a wage and hour action alleging that defendants deprived plaintiff-employees of their wages through the use of timekeeping policies and employment practices that required them to work through their meal and rest periods, put in extra work time before and after their regularly scheduled work shifts, and attend mandatory training sessions, the district court's dismissal of the action is: 1) vacated in part, as to the dismissal of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims against defendant hospital and defendant Ullian, as well as the Massachusetts common law claims for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, money had and received, unjust enrichment, and conversion; 2) vacated in part, as to the striking of plaintiffs' class and collective allegations; 3) affirmed in part, as to the district court's directive that the plaintiffs in the two cases file a single consolidated complaint and, by extension, the district court's assumption of jurisdiction over the state law claims; and 4) affirmed in part, as to the dismissal of the FLSA claims against defendant Canavan, the fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims, and the denial of further leave to amend the complaint.

Rivera-Almodovar v. Instituto Socioeconomico Comunitario, Inc. (No. 12-2419 )

Decision Date: September 11, 2013

In an action alleging violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the district court\'s denial of plaintiff\'s requested relief for time to respond to defendant\'s summary judgment motion and a discovery extension is affirmed where: 1) the district court had good reason to believe that the plaintiff\'s plight was the result of her lackadaisical approach to discovery; and 2) the plaintiff\'s lack of diligence in pursuing discovery was, on the facts of this case, a sufficient reason for the district court, in its discretion, to deny relief under Fed. Rule Civ. P. 56(d).

Corporate Technologies, Inc. v. Harnett (No. 13-1706 )

Decision Date: September 23, 2013

The district court's preliminary injunction that restrained defendant, a former employee of plaintiff, from doing business with certain customers to whom he had sold products and services while in plaintiff's employ, is affirmed, where: 1) the identity of the party making initial contact is just one factor among many that the trial court should consider in drawing the line between solicitation and acceptance; 2) the evidence of record is adequate to underpin the lower court's determinations that defendant violated the non-solicitation covenant and that plaintiff is therefore likely to succeed on the merits; and 3) the district court narrowly tailored the preliminary injunction with respect to non-disclosure, enjoining only the use of information contained in defendant's notes.

Enos v. Union Stone, Inc., (No. 12-2480 )

Decision Date: October 15, 2013

Judgment awarding plaintiff-Funds fringe benefit contributions that defendant failed to make for work performed by members of the union is affirmed, where: 1) there was no error in the district court's refusal to enforce the purported June 7 settlement agreement; 2) the district court's evidentiary rulings do not warrant vacating the judgment; 3) the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion for Rule 11 sanctions; and 4) the district court did not err in awarding plaintiffs interest and attorneys' fees.

Northern New England Telephone Operations v. Local 2327, International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (No. 13-1167 )

Decision Date: November 12, 2013

The district court did not err in affirming an arbitral award entered in favor of defendant-union arising out of its claims that plaintiff-employer allegedly wrongfully transferred work to non-union workers, where: 1) the arbitral panel did not exceed the bounds of its interpretative powers or clearly err in its conclusion that the subcontracting jobs to which union employees had a "legitimate claim" constituted a "transfer" within the meaning of the collective bargaining agreement; and 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant fees and costs.

Bonneau v. Plumbers and Pipefitters Local (No. 13-1515 )

Decision Date: November 15, 2013

Summary judgment for plaintiffs, a group of now-retired union employees, in a dispute over certain "banked hour" benefits which defendant-union Pension Trust wants to eliminate, is affirmed, where: 1) plaintiffs' benefits are in fact "accrued;" and 2) defendant-trust's proposed elimination would violate the anti-cutback provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which prohibits the decrease by amendment of any accrued benefit of a participant in an ERISA plan.

Travers v. Flight Services & Systems, Inc (No. 13-1438 )

Decision Date: December 12, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant-employer on plaintiff's claims that defendant fired him in retaliation for pursuing his lawsuit against defendant under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is vacated and remanded, where there remains a genuine dispute as to whether the people who decided to fire plaintiff acted with awareness of the CEO's desire to retaliate and, if so, whether plaintiff would have been fired anyway for reasons other than pursuit of his rights under the FLSA.

Rodriguez-Vives v. PR Fire Fighters Corps (No. 13-1587 )

Decision Date: February 18, 2014

Dismissal of plaintiff's action alleging that during her transitory employment, defendant subjected her to various forms of abuse in retaliation for her earlier suit, which had alleged that defendant refused to hire her as a firefighter because of her gender, is vacated and remanded, where: 1) plaintiff adequately alleges that she opposed a practice made unlawful by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; and 2) plaintiff adequately alleges employment actions sufficiently adverse to constitute retaliation.

International Union v. Ray Haluch Gravel Inc. (No. 11-1944 )

Decision Date: March 11, 2014

Following judgment in favor of plaintiff- employee benefit plan in an action to recover unpaid employee-related remittances allegedly due under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the district court's award of attorneys' fees to plaintiff pursuant to the CBA and ERISA's fee-shifting provision is affirmed, where: 1) the use of proportionality as a factor, but not the exclusive factor, in setting the amount of the fee award was within the court's discretion; and 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in setting the fee award or the amount of expenses.

Sixth Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee

Upshaw v. Ford Motor Co. (No. 08-3246)

Decision Date: August 14, 2009

In a Title VII action claiming that Defendant failed to promote Plaintiff on the basis of her race and sex, summary judgment for Defendant is affirmed in part, where Plaintiff failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendant's claim of mistake was a pretext for race discrimination; but reversed in part, where the combination of close temporal proximity between an employers heightened scrutiny and plaintiff's filing of an EEOC charge is sufficient to establish the causal nexus needed to establish a prima facie case of retaliation.

Hunter v. Valley View Local Schs. (No. 08-4109)

Decision Date: August 26, 2009

In an action claiming that defendant-employer impermissibly considered plaintiff's use of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave in deciding to place her on involuntary leave, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where there was an issue of material fact as to whether the FMLA leave was a motivating factor in defendant's decision.

Pedreira v. Ky. Baptist Homes for Children (No. 08-5538)

Decision Date: August 31, 2009

In an action under the First Amendment and various employment statutes challenging defendant-Baptist Homes for Children's policy of firing and not hiring gay and lesbian employees, dismissal of the complaint is affirmed in part where the termination of plaintiff based on her sexual orientation did not constitute discrimination on account of religion. However, the ruling is reversed in part where plaintiffs sufficiently demonstrated standing as state taxpayers for their Establishment Clause challenge.

Risch v. Royal Oak Police Dep't (08-1883)

Decision Date: September 23, 2009

In plaintiff's gender discrimination action under Title VII against the police department, summary judgment for defendants is reversed and remanded as plaintiff, a patrol officer and a seventeen-year veteran with the department, had arguably superior qualification than the two successful applicants who received the promotions as detectives and produced other probative evidence of gender discrimination.

Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n v. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & Sch. (No. 09-1134)

Decision Date: March 9, 2010

In an employment discrimination and retaliation action brought by a teacher at a religious school claiming violations of the ADA, the district courts grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant based on the "ministerial exception" is vacated and remanded as, given the factual findings relating to plaintiff's primary duties as a teacher, the district court erred in its legal conclusion classifying her as a ministerial employee.

Spengler v. Worthington Cylinder (No. 08-3110)

Decision Date: July 27, 2010

In plaintiff's age discrimination suit against his former employer under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Ohio's anti-discrimination statute, district court's denial of defendant's Rule 50(b) motion and jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff are affirmed where: 1) district court did not err in allowing plaintiff's case to proceed to trial as the language in plaintiff's EEOC charge sets forth sufficient facts to put the EEOC on notice of plaintiff's retaliation claim despite his failure to check the "Retaliation" box on the charge; 2) plaintiff's judicial complaint set forth facts establishing a prima facie case of retaliation under the ADEA; 3) the totality of the evidence in the record does not lead reasonable minds to but one conclusion in favor of the defendant on the retaliation claim; 4) because plaintiff established the amount of his damages and defendant failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that plaintiff was not entitled to those damages, damages were properly awarded; and 5) the jury could have reasonably concluded that the supervisor's conduct was willful and therefore, liquidated damages were warranted.

Spees v. James Marine, Inc. (No. 09-5839)

Decision Date: August 10, 2010

In plaintiff's suit against her former employer and its subsidiary for pregnancy and disability discrimination, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants is affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded where: 1) district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of defendant on plaintiff's transfer claim as a reasonable jury could find that plaintiff's transfer to the tool room constituted an adverse employment action; 2) summary judgment was proper on plaintiff's pregnancy-discrimination claim based on plaintiff's termination; 3) district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants on plaintiff's ADA claim to the extent it is based on the tool-room transfer; and 4) district court did not err in granting defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's disability claim based on her termination as plaintiff has presented no evidence that defendant regarded her as having an impairment that precluded her from working in the tool room.

White v. Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Inc. (No. 09-5626)

Decision Date: August 11, 2010

In plaintiff's sexual harassment suit against her former employers seeking $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants based on a claim of judicial estoppel is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff asserted a position before the bankruptcy court that was contrary to the position that she asserted before the district court as she did not disclose her sexual harassment claim against defendants in her initial bankruptcy filings; 2) plaintiff had a motive to conceal and knowledge of the factual basis of her harassment claim; and 3) the evidence plaintiff presented of her attempts to advise the bankruptcy court and the trustee of her harassment claim does not excuse her initial omission.

Franklin v. Kellogg Co. (No. 09-5880)

Decision Date: August 31, 2010

In plaintiff's suit against Kellogg Company on behalf of herself and all similarly situated employees to recover wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for time spent donning and doffing Kellogg's mandatory food safety uniforms and protective equipment, and for time spent walking to and from the changing area and the time clock, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Kellogg is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded where: 1) section 203 is not an exemption and therefore not an affirmative defense; 2) the items at issue are clothes within the meaning of section 203(o); 3) the evidence demonstrates that there was a custom or practice of nonpayment for time spent changing clothes under a bona fide CBA, and as such, time spent donning and doffing the equipment is excluded from "hours worked" under section 203(o); 4) under the continuous workday rule, plaintiff may be entitled to payment for her post-donning and pre-donning walking time, and as such, the matter is remanded because there are questions of fact as to the length of time it took her to walk from the changing area to the time clock and whether that time was de minimis.

Evans-Marshall v. Bd. of Educ. of the Tipp City Exempted Vill. Sch. Dist. (No. 09-3775)

Decision Date: October 21, 2010

In a teacher's section 1983 suit against a school board and other individuals, claiming that defendants had retaliated against her curricular and pedagogical choices, infringing her First Amendment right to select books and methods of instruction for use in the classroom without interference from public officials, district court's grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment is affirmed as the First Amendment does not protect primary and secondary school teachers' in-class curricular speech.

Bates v. Dura Auto. Sys., Inc. (No. 09-6351 )

Decision Date: November 3, 2010

In plaintiffs' suit against their former employer, claiming that the employer's drug testing policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, district court's holding that individuals do not need to be disabled to assert claims under section 12112(b)(6) is reversed in this interlocutory appeal where: 1) because the plain text of the statute requires that an individual bringing such a claim be disabled, and this interpretation is not "demonstrably at odds" with Congress's intent, the plain meaning controls; and 2) because the plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the district court's ruling on their putative claims under section 12112(d)(4) is inextricably intertwined with the certified issue, exercise of pendent appellate jurisdiction is declined.

Tenth Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming

DeFreitas v. Horizon Inv. Mgmt. Corp. (No. 08-4034)

Decision Date: August 14, 2009

In a Title VII action alleging that Defendant improperly terminated Plaintiff while she was on medical leave, summary judgment for Defendant is affirmed in part, where Plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence of the intent necessary for religious discrimination; but reversed in part, where there were many reasons to question Defendants' evidence regarding the alleged grounds for Plaintiff's termination.

Brammer-Hoelter v. Twin Peaks Charter Academy (No. 08-1325)

Decision Date: April 21, 2010

In an action alleging that violated plaintiffs\' First Amendment rights while they were employed at defendant school by unlawfully prohibiting them from meeting together to discuss school matters and retaliating against them when they did so, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed in part where: 1) there was no authority suggesting that an employer who expressed a preference regarding employee association thereby imposed an unconstitutional prior restraint; 2) controlling precedent would not have put a reasonable administrator on notice that the speech at each meeting at issue, viewed in the aggregate, was protected by the First Amendment; and 3) the record does not support the conclusion that the school board ratified plaintiffs\' supervisor\'s directives on employee speech. However, the judgment is reversed in part where there was no support for imposing the requirement that a government employee request clarification or complain to his supervisor before being permitted to file a complaint challenging his employer's speech restrictions.

Rodriguez v. Wet Ink, LLC (No. 08-1313)

Decision Date: April 26, 2010

In an employment discrimination suit against plaintiff's former employer, summary judgment for defendant on the ground that the action was time-barred is reversed where the state anti-discrimination agency's notice in this case did not trigger the 90-day limitation period for purposes of filing a federal action under Title VII, because nothing in the worksharing agreement between the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) and the EEOC, or relevant case law, supported defendant's view that the CCRD could issue right-to-sue notices on behalf of the EEOC.

Wilkerson v. Shinseki (No. 09-8027)

Decision Date: June 2, 2010

In an action claiming that plaintiff\'s reassignment discriminated against him based on his obesity and diabetes, and that age discrimination played a role in his reassignment in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff was not otherwise qualified to hold the position as required by the Rehabilitation Act; 2) defendant had a non-discriminatory reason for removing plaintiff that was not pretextual; and 3) plaintiff did not allege that the accessing of his health records was intentional misconduct, as required by the Privacy Act.

Seventh Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin

Laouini v. CLM Freight Lines, Inc. (No. 08-3721)

Decision Date: August 20, 2009

In an employment-discrimination case, district court's grant of summary judgment for defendant on grounds that the plaintiff failed to timely file a charge with the EEOC is vacated and remanded where defendant failed to show absence of a genuine factual dispute over whether plaintiff's charge had been timely filed via fax where it was not the plaintiff who had to prove receipt, but the defendant who had to prove the absence of receipt - the fax confirmation creates a factual dispute sufficient to preclude summary judgment.

Ekstrand v. Sch. Dist. of Somerset (No. 09-1853)

Decision Date: October 6, 2009

In plaintiff's lawsuit against her former employer claiming that school district failed to accommodate her seasonal effective disorder and constructively discharged her in violation of the ADA, judgment of the district court is reversed in part and affirmed in part where: 1) district court's grant of summary judgment on the failure-to-accommodate claim is reversed as plaintiff satisfied all three elements required for the claim; and 2) summary judgment on the constructive-discharge claim was proper as plaintiff failed to show that the conditions of her employment even approached the intolerable levels normally required in constructive-discharge cases.

Brunker v. Schwan's Home Serv., Inc. (No. 07-3183)

Decision Date: October 22, 2009

In plaintiff's disability discrimination action against his former employer, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant-employer is affirmed in part, reversed and vacated in part, and remanded where: 1) the disability-discrimination claim is remanded as, although plaintiff's impairments are not sufficient to show that he is disabled, the record contains adequate evidence to support a theory that defendant regarded him as being disabled in the major life activities of walking, caring for himself, and speaking; 2) district court's summary judgment on the reasonable-accommodation claim is affirmed; 3) district court's denial of plaintiff's motion to compel discovery on certain issues is reversed; and 4) award of sanctions is vacated because the magistrate judge unreasonably imposed them in response to plaintiff's discovery requests.

Butler v. Village of Round Lake Police Dep't (No. 08-3856)

Decision Date: October 27, 2009

In plaintiff-police officer's ADA claim against defendant-village, dismissal of his case on the ground of judicial estoppel is affirmed where: 1) to succeed on an ADA claim, a plaintiff must show that with or without reasonable accommodations, he can perform the essential functions of his job; and 2) here, accepting plaintiff's sworn testimony before the pension board as true, the court could not see how he could perform essential police functions with or without accommodations.

Sherwood v. Marquette Transp. Co., LLC (No. 09-2045)

Decision Date: November 23, 2009

In plaintiff′s suit against his employer under the Jones Act and general maritime law for injuries he suffered while working as a deckhand, defendant-employer′s appeal of a district court′s denial of its motion to stay the suit in favor of arbitration is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction under 9 U.S.C. section 16(a)(1)(A) as: 1) section 16 is part of the Federal Arbitration Act, and as such, under the language of section 1, does not apply to any employment contract involving a seaman; and 2) section also is inapplicable, and defendant′s motion for a stay did not rely on it.

Musch v. Domtar Indus., Inc. (No. 08-4305)

Decision Date: November 25, 2009

In plaintiff′s suit on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, seeking compensation for the time spent changing clothes and showering at the end of each work shift at defendant\′s paper mill, summary judgment in favor of defendant is affirmed where: 1) plaintiffs′ daily post-shift activities are done under normal conditions and are merely postliminary non-compensable activities; and 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff\′s motion to reconsider in concluding that plaintiff merely rehashed the arguments he had made at summary judgment and failed to present evidence of extraordinary and exceptional circumstances under Rule 60(b)(6).

Collins v. Heritage Wine Cellars, Ltd. (No. 09-1181)

Decision Date: December 21, 2009

In an action under the Fair Labor Standards Act brought by truck drivers against a wholesale importer and distributor of wine claiming that they were not paid overtime, judgment for the defendant is affirmed as the portion of the transportation that is entirely within Illinois is nevertheless interstate commerce within the meaning of the Motor Carrier Act and therefore, the Fair Labor Standards Act exempts from its overtime provisions any employee with respect to whom the Secretary of Transportation has power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service pursuant to the provisions of section 31502 of title 49.

Turner v. Saloon, Ltd. (No. 07-2449)

Decision Date: February 8, 2010

In plaintiff's employment discrimination suit against his former employer, summary judgment in favor of defendant is affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded where: 1) the judgment of the district court is affirmed to the extent that it dismissed plaintiff's ADA claims, his overtime claims, and his Title VII retaliation claim; but 2) judgment of the district court with respect to plaintiff's hostile-workplace claim based on alleged sexual harassment is reversed and remanded as the court dismissed the claim after excluding most of the alleged instances of harassment as time-barred, contrary to Supreme Court precedent establishing that in a hostile-workplace claim, acts of harassment falling outside Title VII's statute of limitations may be considered as long as some act of harassment occurred within the limitations period.

Bailey v. Pregis Innovative Packaging, Inc. (No. 09-3539)

Decision Date: April 2, 2010

In plaintiff's suit against her former employer under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. section 2601, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff's claim that she is entitled to toll the 12-month period for the 56 days during that period in which she was on FMLA leave is rejected as there is no basis for such a contortion of the statute; and 2) plaintiff's argument that the defendant retaliated against her for taking FMLA leave fails as defendant's no-fault attendance policy is a lawful method of determining whether an employee has a sufficiently strong commitment to working for his employer to wipe an absence off his record, and plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that commitment.

Alvarez v. City of Chicago (No. 09-2020)

Decision Date: May 21, 2010

In two lawsuits against the City of Chicago brought by paramedics, claiming that it willfully failed to properly compensate them for overtime, district court's grant of the City's motion for summary judgment is reversed and remanded as, the district court erred in dismissing the claims of the named plaintiffs as they have the right to proceed individually.

Goelzer v. Sheboygan County (No. 09-2283)

Decision Date: May 12, 2010

In plaintiff's suit against her former county employer for her termination two weeks before she was scheduled to begin two months of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), claiming the employer interfered with her right to reinstatement under the Act and retaliated against her for taking FMLA leave, summary judgment in favor of defendants is reversed as plaintiff has put forth enough evidence for this case to reach a trier of fact, including comments suggesting her supervisor's dissatisfaction with her use of FMLA leave, her positive performance reviews, and the timing of her termination.

Chaney v. Plainfield Healthcare Ctr. (No. 09-3661)

Decision Date: July 21, 2010

In a Title VII action claiming that a nursing home's practice of acceding to the racial biases of its residents was illegal and created a hostile work environment, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where: 1) the racial preference policy violated Title VII by creating a hostile work environment; and 2) issues of fact remained over whether race motivated plaintiff's discharge.

Sottoriva v. Claps (No. 09-1311)

Decision Date: August 17, 2010

District court's reduction of an Illinois Department of Human Rights employee's fee award by 67%, accounting for the partial success of the employee's suit against the Director of the Department and the Comptroller of the State of Illinois for withholding portions of his salary without an adequate hearing, is vacated and remanded as, although it was entirely proper for the district court to conclude that plaintiff achieved only "partial" success and that the lodestar figure should thus be reduced to reflect this fact, the district court provided insufficient reasoning in support of its judgment.

Xodus v. Wackenhut Corp. (No. 09-3082)

Decision Date: August 27, 2010

In plaintiff's suit against a security firm, claiming that it violated Title VII when it did not hire him as a security guard because plaintiff would not cut his dreadlocks, judgment that defendant did not engage in religious discrimination when it refused to hire plaintiff on account of his dreadlocked hairstyle is affirmed where: 1) the court's decision to credit the interviewing manager's testimony that plaintiff never informed him that religious belief required him to wear dreadlocks is both plausible from the evidence and sufficiently explained in the opinion; 2) plaintiff waived his claim that the district court erred by preventing him from testifying about his EEOC intake questionnaire; and 3) plaintiff's claims that the district court erred when it granted summary judgment to defendant on the issue of whether he mitigated his damages and whether he was entitled to punitive damages are moot.

McCann v. Iroquois Mem'l Hosp. (No. 08-3420)

Decision Date: September 13, 2010

In a hospital employees' suit against the hospital, its Board of Trustees, its Chief Executive Officer, and another employee, for violation of the Wiretap Act, claiming that the employee intentionally intercepted their conversation criticizing hospital , and disclosed the contents of the recording to justify sanctioning the plaintiffs, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded where: 1) because the parties presented two different but plausible stories, an issue of fact remains, and as such, the claims against the employee and the hospital should not have been resolved on summary judgment; and 2) district court's grant of summary judgment on the claims against the CEO and the trustees is affirmed as the evidence does not show that the CEO knew that the employee acted unlawfully and the only trustee who might have known did not use or disclose the recordings.

Norman-Nunnery v. Madison Area Tech Coll. (No. 09-1757 )

Decision Date: November 8, 2010

In plaintiff's discrimination and retaliation suit against a college and three of its employees, claiming that she was not hired by the college because of her race and because her husband had previously filed a frivolous lawsuit against the same defendants, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff is not entitled to a favorable inference under the spoliation doctrine as there is no evidence that any of the defendants destroyed documents in bad faith; 2) district court correctly granted judgment in favor of the defendant on plaintiff's claim of racial discrimination in hiring as there is no evidence supporting her claim of pretext; and 3) plaintiff's claim of "marital association retaliation" cannot survive summary judgment because she has failed to provide any evidence that the defendants refused to hire her because of her marriage to her husband.

Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n v. Autozone, Inc. (No. 10-1353)

Decision Date: December 30, 2010

In the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) suit on behalf of defendant's former employee under the Americans with Disabilities Act, district court's grant of summary judgment on a failure-to-accommodate claim is reversed and remanded as the evidence the EEOC has presented is plainly susceptible to the determination that the employee had a disability within the meaning intended by the ADA as required to prove a failure to accommodate, and as such, summary judgment should not have been granted on that basis that the employee was not disabled.

Ervin v. OS Restaurant Servs., Inc. (No. 09-3029)

Decision Date: January 18, 2011

In plaintiffs' suit against their employer under the FLSA, the Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL), and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, claiming that the employer violated the minimum wage and maximum hour provisions of both the FLSA and the IMWL, district court's denial of plaintiffs' effort to proceed as a class under Rule 23(b)(3) on the ground that there is a clear incompatibility between the plaintiffs' FLSA proceeding and their proposed class action is reversed and remanded, as there is no categorical rule against certifying a Rule 23(b)(3) state law class action in a proceeding that also includes a collective action brought under the FLSA because nothing in the text of the FLSA or the procedures established by the statute suggests either that the FLSA was intended generally to oust other ordinary procedures used in federal court or that class actions in particular could not be combined with an FLSA proceeding.

Ninth Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington

EEOC v. Boeing Co. (No. 07-16903)

Decision Date: August 18, 2009

In a sex discrimination action by the EEOC, summary judgment for defendant-employer is reversed where the EEOC introduced adequate evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that the reasons defendant advanced to justify its employment actions were pretextual.

LVRC Holdings LLC v. Brekka (No. 07-17116)

Decision Date: September 15, 2009

In an action claiming that defendant violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by accessing plaintiff's computer without authorization, both while defendant was employed by plaintiff and after he left the company, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where: 1) defendant was authorized to use plaintiff's computers while he was employed by plaintiff, and thus he did not access a computer "without authorization" in violation of the applicable statutes when he emailed documents to himself and to his wife prior to leaving employment; and 2) plaintiff failed to establish the existence of a genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendant accessed plaintiff's website without authorization after he left the company.

Indergard v. Georgia-Pacific Corp. (No. 08-35278)

Decision Date: September 28, 2009

In an action claiming that defendant-employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by terminating plaintiff based on her failure to pass a physical capacity evaluation, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where the district court erred in holding that the evaluation was not a medical examination within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. section 12112(d)(4)(A).

Balen v. Holland Am. Line Inc. (No. 07-36011)

Decision Date: October 2, 2009

In an action for unpaid wages under the Seamen's Wage Act, the district court's order granting defendant's motion to compel arbitration is affirmed where claims under the Act are subject to arbitration pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and plaintiff's claim was subject to a valid arbitration agreement.

Fleming v. Yuma Reg. Med. Ctr. (07-16427)

Decision Date: November 19, 2009

In an action for employment discrimination based on plaintiff′s disability, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. section 794, extends to a claim of discrimination brought by an independent contractor because the Rehabilitation Act covers all individuals "subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Alvarado v. Cajun Operating Co. (No. 08-15549)

Decision Date: December 11, 2009

In an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) action alleging that defendant retaliated against plaintiff for complaining that his manager had discriminated against him based on his disability, an order denying plaintiff the right to seek compensatory and punitive damages is affirmed where the plain and unambiguous provisions of 42 U.S.C. section 1981a limited the availability of compensatory and punitive damages to those specific ADA claims listed, and retaliation was not on the list.

United Steel, Paper & Forestry Int'l. Union v. ConocoPhillips Co. (No. 09-56578)

Decision Date: January 6, 2010

In an action seeking compensation for defendant's alleged denial of employees' meal breaks, denial of class certification is reversed where the district court abused its discretion when it assumed, for the purpose of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 certification analysis and without any separate inquiry into the merits, that plaintiffs' legal theory would fail.

Traxler v. Multnomah Cty. (No. 08-35641)

Decision Date: February 26, 2010

In a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) action based on an allegedly wrongful termination, partial judgment for plaintiff is affirmed in part where, under the FMLA, front pay is an equitable remedy to be determined by the court. However, the judgment is reversed in part where the district court erred in denying liquidated damages without making specific findings as to the employer's good faith conduct and reasonable belief that it was not violating the statute.

Rutti v. Vermillion (No. 07-56599)

Decision Date: March 2, 2010

In a class action on behalf of all technicians employed by defendant to install alarms in customers' cars, in which plaintiff sought compensation for the time technicians spent commuting to worksites in defendant\'s vehicles and for time spent on preliminary and postliminary activities performed at their homes, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed in part where: 1) pursuant to the Employment Commuter Flexibility Act, use of an employer\'s vehicle to commute was not compensable even if it was a condition of employment; and 2) the conditions defendant placed on plaintiff's use of its vehicle did not make his commute compensable. However, the judgment is vacated in part where, on summary judgment, the district court could not determine that plaintiff\'s postliminary activities were not integral to plaintiff\'s principal activities.

Alcazar v. Corp. of the Catholic Archbishop of Seattle (No. 09-35003)

Decision Date: March 16, 2010

In an action seeking pay for the overtime hours plaintiff worked as a seminarian in a Catholic church in Washington, dismissal of the action is affirmed where the ministerial exception barred the claim because: 1) the First Amendment strongly circumscribed legislative and judicial intrusion into the internal affairs of a religious organization; 2) awarding damages would necessarily trench on the Church's protected ministerial decisions; and 3) plaintiff's complaint demonstrated that plaintiff was a minister for purposes of the ministerial exception.

Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (No. 04-16688)

Decision Date: April 26, 2010

In a Title VII action alleging discrimination against female employees by Wal-Mart, certification of a Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(2) class of current employees with respect to their claims for injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and back pay is affirmed where: 1) it was within the district court's discretion, and in line with Falcon, to determine that the commonality prerequisite to class certification was satisfied; 2) decentralized, subjective decision making could contribute to a common question of fact regarding the existence of discrimination; and 3) because the discrimination they claimed to have suffered occurred through alleged common practice -- e.g., excessively subjective decision making in a corporate culture of uniformity and gender stereotyping--the district court did not abuse its discretion by finding that their claims were sufficiently typical to satisfy Rule 23(a)(3). With respect to plaintiffs' claims for punitive damages, and as to those class members who no longer worked for Wal-Mart, the certification order is remanded so the district court could consider: 1) whether certification under Rule 23(b)(2) of the punitive damages claims would cause monetary relief to predominate; and 2) whether an additional class or classes may be appropriate under Rule 23(b)(3) with respect to the claims of former employees.

Porter v. Winter (No. 07-17120)

Decision Date: May 5, 2010

In an action challenging the amount of attorney's fees awarded to plaintiff in Title VII administrative proceedings, dismissal of the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is reversed where, under New York Gaslight Club, Inc. v. Carey, 447 U.S. 54 (1980), federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction over claims brought solely to recover attorney's fees incurred in Title VII administrative proceedings.

Lagstein v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's (No. 07-16094)

Decision Date: June 10, 2010

In plaintiff's appeal from the district court's court vacating an arbitral award on the ground of its excessive size and vacating a punitive damages award on the additional ground that the arbitration panel lacked jurisdiction to enter it after the panel had entered its compensatory award, the order is reversed where: 1) the district court erred in concluding that the size of the arbitration awards demonstrated manifest disregard of the law; 2) the fact that the majority of the arbitrators may have made a mistake in citing a benefit that plaintiff had not purchased did not establish irrationality of its ultimate conclusion that defendant breached its contract; 3) nothing in plaintiff's policy expressly withdrew determination of procedural issues from the panel; and 4) defendant failed to demonstrate either evident partiality or evident corruption in the arbitrators.

Breiner v. Nev. Dep't of Corr. (No. 09-15568)

Decision Date: July 8, 2010

In an action challenging the State of Nevada's policy of hiring only female correctional lieutenants at a women's prison, summary judgment for defendants is reversed where: 1) Title VII protects the ability to pursue one's own career goals without being discriminated against on the basis of race or sex, even if others of the same race or sex were not subject to disadvantage; and 2) defendants did not show that "all or nearly all" men would tolerate sexual abuse by male guards, or that it is "impossible or highly impractical" to assess applicants individually for this qualification.

Narayan v. EGL, Inc. (No. 07-16487.)

Decision Date: July 13, 2010

In an action seeking unpaid overtime wages, business expenses, meal compensation and unlawful deductions from wages under the California Labor Code, summary judgment for defendants is reversed where, under California's multi-faceted test of employment, there existed at the very least sufficient indicia of an employment relationship between the plaintiffs and defendant such that a reasonable jury could find the existence of such a relationship.

Hawn v. Exec. Jet Mgmt., Inc. (No. 08-15903)

Decision Date: August 16, 2010

In an action by flight attendants who were dismissed for sexual harassment, alleging discrimination on the basis of race, sex and national origin in violation of Title VII, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where: 1) the district court did not err by focusing on the inference of discrimination that was central to plaintiffs' case; and 2) even assuming the female flight attendants reported to the same supervisor as plaintiffs, the two groups were not similarly situated because the female employees' alleged conduct was not unwelcome and never resulted in a complaint.

Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n v. Prospect Airport Servs., Inc. (No. 07-17221)

Decision Date: September 3, 2010

In a sexual harassment case in which a male employee was the victim of a female co-worker, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether: 1) plaintiff was subjected to "verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature"; 2) such conduct was unwelcome; 3) the pervasiveness and the inadequate response by the employer established a jury question of whether a co-worker's overtures led to an abusive environment; 4) defendant's actions were not enough to establish an affirmative defense.

Wang v. Chinese Daily News, Inc. (Nos. 08-55483, 08-56740)

Decision Date: September 27, 2010

In an action brought against a Chinese-language newspaper by some of its California-based employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and under California law, judgment for plaintiffs is affirmed where: 1) the evidence before the district court did not create a genuine issue of material fact as to the reporters' status; 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in certifying a Rule 23(b)(2) class; 3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in invalidating the opt-outs and in restricting defendant's ability to communicate with class members; 4) substantial evidence supported the jury's verdict; 5) the FLSA does not preempt a state-law section 17200 claim that "borrows" its substantive standard from FLSA; and 5) it was within the district court's discretion to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the section 17200 claim in this case.

Stiefel v. Bechtel Corp. (No. 09-55764 )

Decision Date: November 1, 2010

In an action alleging that defendant discriminated against plaintiff because of a disabling work-related injury and failed to accommodate that disability, and then laid him off to retaliate against him for seeking accommodation, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed in part where plaintiff failed to demonstrate either that he applied to be rehired or that it would have been futile to do so. However, the order is reversed in part where plaintiffs' California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) charge was deemed filed with the EEOC pursuant to a "Worksharing Agreement" between the DFEH and the EEOC.

Gordon v. City of Oakland (No. 09-16167)

Decision Date: November 19, 2010

In a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) challenge to the City of Oakland's policy requiring police officers to repay a portion of their training costs if they voluntarily leave the City's employment before completing five years of service, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where, because the City issued plaintiff a paycheck exceeding the minimum wage amount, the City's reimbursement demand did not violate the FLSA's minimum wage provision.

Eklund v. City of Seattle Mun. Ct. ( No. 09-35652)

Decision Date: November 24, 2010

In an action alleging wrongful termination of plaintiff's employment by a municipal court and denial of due process of law in his termination, the denial of qualified immunity to defendants is reversed where a reasonable person in defendant-judge's position would not have believed that he was constitutionally required to recuse himself.

Coppinger-Martin v. Solis (No. 09-73725)

Decision Date: November 30, 2010

In action alleging that Nordstrom, Inc. violated the whistleblower-protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, by terminating petitioner's employment in retaliation for her reporting to supervisors conduct she believed violated the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Labor's Administrative Review Board's order dismissing petitioner's complaint as untimely filed is affirmed where petitioner filed her complaint on October 13, 2006, more than 90 days after her final day of work, and equitable tolling did not apply.

Dawson v. Entek Int'l (No. 09-35844)

Decision Date: January 10, 2011

In an action for sexual orientation discrimination, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where plaintiff produced circumstantial evidence of retaliatory discharge and sexual orientation hostile work environment, such that resolution of this action by summary judgment was error.

Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. (No. 10-15257)

Decision Date: February 15, 2011

In a suit for back pay, challenging the defendant-employer\'s classification of plaintiffs as \"outside salesmen\", a legal designation that exempts an employee from the FLSA\'s overtime-pay requirement, grant of summary judgment to employer is affirmed where the pharmaceutical industry\'s representatives (detail men and women) share many more similarities than differences with their colleagues in other sales fields, and are thus are exempt from the FLSA overtime-pay requirement.

Adam v. Norton (No. 09-17091)

Decision Date: March 1, 2011

In a dispute over the scope of government sovereign immunity waiver under the Back Pay Act, 5 USC sections 5596(b)(1)-(b)(2)(A), grant of motion for relief from judgment is reversed because sovereign waiver of immunity applies to interest on an award of back pay for employment termination in violation of the ADEA.

Salomaa v. Honda Long Term Disability Plan (No. 08-55426)

Decision Date: March 7, 2011

In a wrongful denial of benefits claim under ERISA, judgment by district court upholding denial of benefits is reversed because plan administrator with a conflict of interest abused discretion.

Sanders v. City of Newport (No. 08-35996)

Decision Date: March 17, 2011

In a labor and employment dispute involving employer liability for FMLA and OFLA violations following the termination of plaintiff after an approved medical leave, judgments of trial court are reversed where trial court improperly instructed the jury on the elements of FMLA interference claim.

Bardzik v. County of Orange (No. 09-55103)

Decision Date: March 28, 2011

In a Section 1983 dispute alleging retaliation through adverse employment action, district court's denial of qualified immunity defense is affirmed in part and reversed in part where plaintiff, as Reserve Division Commander of Sheriff's Department, was a policymaker but not during his subsequent position.

Zeinali v. Raytheon Co. (No. 09-56283)

Decision Date: April 4, 2011

In a labor and employment dispute involving a claim of discriminatory termination under the the FEHA, Cal. Gov. Code sectoin 12940 et seq, judgment of the district court dismissing claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is reversed where court had jurisdiction because plaintiff did not dispute the merits of an executive branch decision denying him security clearance, but instead, disputed the bona fides of a professed security clearance requirement while introducing evidence to satisfy his pleading burdens under McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-04 (1973).

Marlo v. United Parcel Service (No. 09-56196)

Decision Date: April 28, 2011

In a labor and employment dispute involving the scope of Cal. Lab. Code section 515(a), judgment of the district court decertifying class on the ground that plaintiff did not meet his Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a) -(b) certification burden is affirmed because judgment was not an abuse of discretion.

Chudacoff v. University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (No. 09-17558)

Decision Date: June 9, 2011

In a Section 1983 dispute arising from the suspension of plaintiff's medical staff privileges and involving against whom the plaintiff may bring action, judgment of the district court is affirmed in part and reversed in part because individually named doctor defendants who serve as voting members of credentialing committee may not be sued and where plaintiff failed to show that his due process injuries were the product of institutional policies.

Barboza v. California Assn. of Professional Firefighters (No. 09-16818)

Decision Date: June 30, 2011

In a dispute concerning whether plaintifff's ERISA claim should have been deemed administratively exhuasted under 29 C.F.R. section 2560.503-1(l), judgment of the trial court dismissing action is reversed because where a claimant seeks review of his or her disability claims, the quarterly meeting rule is restricted to multiemployer plans and therefore inasmuch as defendant failed to render a decision within ninety days of plaintiff's administrative appeal, plaintiff's claim must be deemed exhausted.

Johnson v. Lucent Technologies Inc. (No. 09-55203 )

Decision Date: August 4, 2011

In a labor and employment dispute concerning whether 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 retaliation claims are governed by the four-year statute of limitations applicable to claims arising under an Act of Congress enacted after December 1, 1990, 28 U.S.C. Section 1658, or by the personal injury statute of limitations of the forum state, judgment of the trial court is affirmed in part and reversed in part where because they arise under a post-December 1, 1990 Act of Congress, section 1981 retaliation claims are governed by the four-year statute of limitations under Section 1658.

Pitts v. Terrible Herbst, Inc. (No. 10-15965)

Decision Date: August 9, 2011

In an dispute arising from a class-action for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. Section 216(b), and state labor laws, judgment of the district court denying plaintiff class certification is reversed as an abuse of discretion where a rejected Rule 68 offer of judgment for the full amount of a putative class representative's individual claim does not moot a class action complaint where the offer precedes the filing of a motion for class certification.

Diaz v. Brewer (No. 10-16797)

Decision Date: September 6, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court granting a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of state law would have terminated eligibility for healthcare benefits of state employees' same-sex partners, Rev. Stat. Section 38-651(O), judgment is affirmed because of the court's findings that plaintiffs demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits because they showed that the law adversely affected a classification of employees on the basis of sexual orientation and did not further any of the state's claimed justifiable interests, and that they had established a likelihood of irreparable harm in the event coverage for partners ceased.

Solis v. State of Washington DSHS (No. 10–35590)

Decision Date: September 9, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court granting defendant's motion for summary judgment in an FLSA action, 29 U.S.C. section 201, et seq., alleging that defendant-state agency failed to pay overtime compensation to certain social workers, judgment is reversed where defendant did not met its burden of showing that its social worker positions meet the regulatory requirement to enjoy the FLSA's "learned professional" exemption.

Earl v. Nielsen Media Research, Inc. FCD KJM VNU USA US (No. 09-17477)

Decision Date: September 26, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiff's state claims for age and disability discrimination and wrongful termination on summary adjudication, judgment is reversed where viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, reasonable jurors could find that defendant's proffered reason for terminating plaintiff's employment was a pretext for age discrimination.

Durand v. US Department of Labor (No. 10-36184 )

Decision Date: November 17, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court denying plaintiff a deduction of costs from a Federal Employee Compensation Act refund, 5 U.S.C. Section 8132, judgment is affirmed where a beneficiary under Section 8132 may deduct his litigation costs only from his gross recovery to determine the amount, if any, of the surplus he must credit to the United States for future benefits.

NLRB v. Legacy Health System (No. 10-72478)

Decision Date: November 21, 2011

In a petition for enforcement of an administrative order finding that respondent violated sections 8(a)(1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act by prohibiting its employees from simultaneously hold bargaining unit and non-bargaining unit positions, 29 U.S.C. section 158(a)(1), judgment is enforcement where the court lacks jurisdiction to hear respondent's exceptions to the order.

Johnson v. Board of Trustees of the Boundary County School (No. 10-35233 )

Decision Date: December 8, 2011

In an appeal from an order of the district court dismissing plaintiff-teacher's ADA complaint for employment discrimination, judgment is affirmed where although plaintiff was physically and mentally capable of performing her duties, she does not qualify within the meaning of the ADA because she failed to allege that the defendant's requirement that she be legally authorized to teach was discriminatory.

Sullivan v. Oracle Corp. (No. 06-56649 )

Decision Date: December 13, 2011

In an appeal from an order of the district court dismissing, on summary judgment, plaintiffs\' class-action complaint for employee misclassifications, order is: 1) affirmed with respect to the dismissal of plaintiffs\' FLSA Section 17200 claims; but 2) reversed on the claims alleging state labor code and unfair competition violations.

Plaza Auto Center, Inc. v. NLRB (No. 10-72728 )

Decision Date: December 19, 2011

In a petition for review of an order of the defendant holding that petitioner violated section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act by firing an employee for his outburst during a meeting with petitioner's management, petition is granted with a remand where the defendant-NLRB failed to properly balance the Atlantic Steel factors.

Shelley v. Geren (No. 10-35014)

Decision Date: January 2, 2012

In an appeal from an order of the district court dismissing, on summary judgment, plaintiff's complaint for employment discrimination on the basis of age, 29 U.S.C. section 621 et seq., order is vacated where the plaintiff presented a prima facie case of age discrimination and evidence of pretext sufficient to create a material dispute as to whether age-related bias was the "but-for" cause of the defendant's failure to interview and promote him.

White v. City of Pasadena (No. 08-57012)

Decision Date: January 17, 2012

In an action stemming a former police officer's termination from her employment with a city, the district court's dismissal is affirmed on the grounds of issue preclusion, where: 1) the allegations supporting claims of discrimination and harassment were all alleged and decided against the plaintiff in a prior state-court suit; and 2) it was determined in a prior city administrative proceeding, upheld on review by the state trial and appellate courts, that the city had an adequate justification for the plaintiff's termination that was not a pretext for a retaliatory intent.

Beltran v. Astrue (No. 09-56255)

Decision Date: May 2, 2012

In a case in which a woman filed applications for both Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Social Security Income benefits, and an ALJ denied benefits for a certain period, the district court's grant of summary judgment affirming the ALJ's decision is reversed, where the SSA Commissioner erred in concluding that there existed a "significant number" of jobs in the regional and national economy that the plaintiff could do, given the rarity of surveillance system monitor jobs and the plaintiff's physical and mental limitations. Read more...

Alday v. Raytheon Co. (No. 08-16984)

Decision Date: May 21, 2012

In a class action by retired employees under section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act and section 502 of ERISA: 1) summary judgment to the plaintiffs is affirmed, where a) the employer expressly agreed to provide 100% company-paid healthcare coverage for eligible retirees in collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), b) the employer's obligation survived the expiration of the CBAs, and c) the employer's agreed-upon obligation could not be unilaterally abrogated by the employer, regardless of the rights it reserved for itself in plan documents; and 2) the district court's rejection of the retirees' claim for punitive and extra-contractual damages is affirmed.

Schechner v. KPIX-TV (No. 11-15294)

Decision Date: May 29, 2012

In an action by two TV news reporters alleging that their employer discriminated against them on the basis of age, in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, when the station laid them off as part of its reduction in force, summary judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed, where: 1) a plaintiff's statistical evidence need not account for an employer's proffered nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action to make a prima facie case of discrimination; but 2) the plaintiffs failed to present sufficient evidence of pretext to survive summary judgment, since the defendants were entitled to a favorable "same-actor" inference.

Okwu v. McKim (No. 11-15369)

Decision Date: June 12, 2012

In an action by a former employee of California Department of Transportation, brought after defendants determined her psychological disorders made her unfit for reinstatement from disability retirement to active service, alleging that this decision deprived her of her right to a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. sections 12111-12117, and to the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment, district court's Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of complaint for failure to state a claim on which relief might be granted is affirmed where: 1) Congress's inclusion of a comprehensive remedial scheme in Title I of the ADA precludes section 1983 claims predicated on alleged violations of ADA Title I substantive rights; and 2) plaintiff's allegations of fact do not state a claim under the Equal Protection Clause

Bilyeu v. Morgan Stanley Long Term Disability Plan (No. 10-16070 )

Decision Date: June 20, 2012

In an action challenging the termination of plaintiff's long-term disability benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. section 1132, summary judgment in favor of plan administrator defendant is reversed where the district court abused its discretion by dismissing this claim for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, as the exhaustion requirement should have been excused because plaintiff acted reasonably in light of administrator's ambiguous communications and failure to engage in a meaningful dialogue.

Day v. At&T Disability Income Plan (No. 10-16479 )

Decision Date: July 3, 2012

In an action by an ERISA plan beneficiary who elected to roll over his pension benefits into an individual retirement account (IRA) upon separation from his employer, alleging the administrator wrongly construed his lump sum rollover as the equivalent of his having "received" his pension benefits and, according to the terms of plan, reduced his long-term disability (LTD) benefits by the amount of the rollover, the district court's judgment in favor of the administrator is affirmed where the administrator made a reasonable interpretation of the plan. Other allegations, that employer failed to sufficiently disclose the possibility that his LTD benefits would be reduced by his receipt of pension benefits, and that the administrator's actions violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), are rejected.

Pacific Ship Repair & Fabrication Inc. v. Benge (No. 11-70292 )

Decision Date: July 24, 2012

A petition brought by a maritime employer challenging the decision of the Department of Labor's Benefits Review Board absolving the Office of the Wokers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) from making disability payments, and instead finding the employer liable for payments to its former employee for work-related injuries is denied, as an employee who has a permanent partial disability may be reclassified as temporarily totally disabled during a recovery period following surgery.

Headley v. Church of Scientology Int'l (No. 10-56266)

Decision Date: July 24, 2012

In a suit by two former ministers against the Church of Scientology claiming they were forced to provide labor in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, district court's judgment in favor of the defendant is affirmed, as the plaintiffs have not established a genuine issue of fact regarding whether they were victims of forced-labor violations. Moreover, the district court was right to recognize that courts may not scrutinize many aspects of the minister-church relationship in basing its rulings on the ministerial exception.

Matthews v. Nat'l Football League (No. 11-55186 )

Decision Date: August 6, 2012

District court's judgment denying a former professional football player's motion to vacate an arbitration award, arising from a workers' compensation claim, is affirmed where: 1) petitioner has not met his burden of establishing that the arbitration award prohibiting him from pursuing California benefits violates explicit, well defined and dominant public policy as he has not alleged sufficient contacts with California to show that his workers' compensation claim comes within the scope of California's workers' compensation regime; and 2) because petitioner has not shown that the award deprives of him of something to which he is entitled to under state law, he also has not shown that it violates federal labor policy, nor has he shown that the arbitrator manifestly disregarded the Full Faith and Credit Clause

Peter-Palican v. Gov't of the Commonwealth of the N. Mariana Islands (No. 10-17153)

Decision Date: August 22, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, claiming wrongful termination without cause from her position as Special Assistant to the Governor for Women's Affairs in violation of Article III, section 22 of the Commonwealth Constitution, the judgment of the district court is vacated and remanded, as plaintiff's termination without cause did not violate the Due Process Clause, because based on the meaning of Article III, section 22 as determined by the final arbiter of Commonwealth law, plaintiff did not have a protected interest in continued employment beyond the term of the governor who appointed her.

Price v. Stevedoring Services of Am., Inc. (No. 08-71719)

Decision Date: September 4, 2012

In a longshoreman's petition for review of the Benefits Review Board's (Board) decision, challenging the maximum rate of compensation, the rate of interest on his past due compensation, and the award of simple rather than compound interest, the Board's decision is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded where: 1) neither the Board's decision nor the Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs' (Director) litigating position interpreting the Longshore Act is entitled to Chevron deference; 2) the Board correctly determined that the ALJ properly applied the maximum rate of compensation for 1991, when the petitioner became disabled; but 3) the Board erred in awarding simple interest on petitioner's past due payments at the section 1961 rate.

Frankl v. HTH Corp. (No. 11-18042 )

Decision Date: September 6, 2012

In a long-running labor dispute between a hotel corporation and a union, the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction against the corporation to remedy certain unfair practices committed in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (Act), is affirmed, and the National Labor Relations Board's petition for enforcement granted where: 1) substantial evidence supports the Board's 2011 ruling regarding the corporation's conduct during 2005-2008; 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by holding that the Regional Director showed a likelihood of success of establishing that the corporation committed an unfair labor practice by not disclosing the requested financial documents; and 3) the district court properly found that enforcement of the ALJ's order serves the public interest.

Sheppard v. David Evans and Assoc. (No. 11-35164 )

Decision Date: September 12, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against her former employer for employment discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and wrongful discharge, district court's dismissal of the complaint is reversed and remanded where plaintiff's complaint satisfies Rule 8(a)(2)'s pleading standard.

Keller Found. v. Tracy (No. 11-71703)

Decision Date: September 20, 2012

The Benefits Review Board's (Board) determination that the injuries petitioner incurred in part during his employment were not covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA), is affirmed where: 1) he was not an "employee" as defined by the LHWCA and did not satisfy the status test during his assignment; 2) petitioner's injuries as a worker in foreign ports do not satisfy the situs test for coverage; and 3) the ALJ and the Board correctly ruled that petitioner has not shown that he is entitled to equitable estoppel.

United Transportation Union v. BNSF Railway Company (No. 11-35714)

Decision Date: March 13, 2013

District court erred in denying plaintiff's petition for review of two Public Law Boards arbitration decisions concerning a dispute regarding a railway employee's discharge, and the order is reversed and remanded where: 1) the district court had jurisdiction under the Railway Labor Act; and 2) plaintiff stated a claim for corruption as to the order of the first Board by alleging that the defendant's Board representative had made an economic threat against the neutral member if she did not change the outcome of the draft decision, and as to the order of the second Board, by alleging that the second Board's neutral member had been made aware of the prior threat.

Allen v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (No. 11-55129)

Decision Date: March 15, 2013

n a wrongful termination case stemming from plaintiff's complaints about a bank's lending practices, the district court's order remanding the case to state court is affirmed where 12 U.S.C. section 1819, a statute that gives the FDIC the right to remove actions from state court to federal court, is triggered when the FDIC has been sued or when FDIC has been substituted as a party, and neither of those events occurred here.

Tibble v. Edison International (No. 10-56406 )

Decision Date: March 21, 2013

District court's judgment in a class action brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by plaintiff beneficiaries who alleged that their pension plan was managed imprudently and in a self-interested fashion, is affirmed, where: 1) the district court correctly measured the timeliness of claims alleging imprudence in plan design from when the decision to include those investments in the plan was initially made; 2) mere notification that retail funds were in the Plan menu falls short of providing actual knowledge of the breach or violation; 3) because DOL's interpretation of how the safe harbor functions is consistent with the statutory language, the district court properly decided that section ERISA section 404(c) did not preclude merits consideration of beneficiaries' claims; 4) the revenue sharing as carried out by defendants does not violate ERISA; 5) defendants did not violate their duty of prudence under ERISA by including in the plan menu mutual funds, and a unitized fund for employees' investment in the company's stock; and 5) defendants were imprudent in deciding to include retail-class shares of three specific mutual funds in the plan menu because they failed to investigate the possibility of institutional-share class alternatives.

Ellins v. City of Sierra Madre (No. 11-55213)

Decision Date: March 22, 2013

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action brought by a police officer alleging his salary increase was delayed in retaliation for the exercise of his First Amendment rights, district court's grant of summary judgment is affirmed in part and reversed in part where: 1) plaintiff's speech involved a matter of public concern; and 2) a jury could conclude that plaintiff's union activities and related speech were undertaken in his capacity as a private citizen; 3) the delay in plaintiff's pay increase constituted an adverse employment action; 4) plaintiff's speech was a substantial or motivating factor for the delay; and 5) the Chief of Police was not entitled to qualified immunity for causing the delay.

Services Employees International Union v. Rosselli (No. 10-16549)

Decision Date: March 26, 2013

Jury verdict against defendant-union officials is affirmed, where: 1) section 501 of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act creates a fiduciary duty to the union as an organization, not merely to the union's rank-and file members; 2) in actively attempting to obstruct the international union executive committee's decision to consolidate all of its California unionized long term healthcare workers from three different local unions into one, the local union officials breached the fiduciary duty they owed their own union as an organization, and because the breach contravened the union's constitution, it could not have been authorized; 3) the district court did not err in excluding irrelevant evidence, nor in issuing a permanent injunction; and 4) the district court did not err in reading the verdict to impose several liability, and not joint-and-several liability, on the defendants

Westendorf v. West Coast Contractors of Nevada, Inc. (No. 11-16004)

Decision Date: April 1, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant-employer in a Title VII action claiming sexual harassment and retaliatory discharge is: 1) affirmed in part, where plaintiff did not make out a prima facie case of sexual harassment because the evidence did not support a finding that the offensive sexual conduct of a co-worker and a supervisor was so severe or pervasive that it altered the conditions of the plaintiff's employment and created a work environment that a reasonable person would consider hostile or abusive; and 2) reversed in part, where the evidence was sufficient to raise a material question of fact as to whether the plaintiff's complaints were a but-for cause of her termination, and the evidence supported a finding that plaintiff was fired because of her protected activity.

McDaniel v. Wells Fargo Investments, LLC, (No. 11-17017)

Decision Date: April 9, 2013

Dismissal of four class action suits challenging the policies of brokerage firms that forbid their employees from opening outside trading accounts, is affirmed, where the district courts correctly determined that the federal Securities Exchange Act, and related self-regulatory organizations rules, preempt the enforcement of California's forced-patronage statute against brokerage houses that forbid their employees from opening outside trading accounts.

Petersen v. Boeing Company (No. 11-18075)

Decision Date: April 26, 2013

District court's order dismissing plaintiff's breach of contract action for improper venue based on a forum selection clause in an employment agreement, is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the evidence submitted and the allegations made by plaintiff were more than sufficient to create a triable issue of fact as to whether the Saudi Arabian forum selection clause at issue was enforceable; 2) the district court abused its discretion by dismissing on the basis of the forum selection clause without holding an evidentiary hearing as to whether enforcement of the forum selection clause at issue here would effectively preclude plaintiff's day in court, and whether plaintiff was induced to assent to the forum selection clause through fraud or overreaching; and 3) the district court abused its discretion in denying plaintiff leave to amend his pleadings.

Ahearn v. International Longshore and Warehouse Union (No. 11-35848)

Decision Date: July 5, 2013

The district court's orders finding defendant's Locals 21 and 4 in contempt and ordering it to pay compensatory damages arising when defendant engaged in protest activities at a grain terminal and the grain terminal filed charges against defendant with the National Labor Relations Board is: 1) affirmed in part, where the district court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded compensatory damages to the grain terminal, the record supported the amount of damages awarded to the grain terminal and the NLRB, and the grain terminal's participation in the civil contempt proceedings did not exceed the statutorily limited role under Section 160(l) of the National Labor Relations Act given to charging parties in an action before the NLRB; but 2) reversed in part, where the district court abused its discretion when it awarded compensatory damages to Burlington Northern Sante Fe, and the various law enforcement agencies that responded to the scenes of defendant's protests, because those entities were not parties to the underlying NLRB actions

Pride v. Correa (No. 10-56036 )

Decision Date: July 16, 2013

The district court's dismissal of plaintiff-prisoner's claim that defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by acting with deliberate indifference towards his serious medical needs is reversed and remanded, where because plaintiff's claim for injunctive relief concerns only his individual medical care, his claim is not already encompassed by the Plata class action, which seeks systemic reform of medical care in California prisons.

Mortensen v. Bresnan Communications, LLC (No. 11-35823 )

Decision Date: July 15, 2013

The district court's decision not to enforce an arbitration clause and a choice of law clause in defendant's broadband Internet service subscriber agreement is vacated and remanded, where: 1) the Federal Arbitration Act preempted Montana's public policy invalidating adhesive agreements running contrary to the reasonable expectations of a party; and 2) the district court erred in not applying New York law because a state's preempted public policy was an impermissible basis on which to reject the parties' choice-of-law selection.

Keller v. Electronic Arts, Inc. (No. 10-15387)

Decision Date: July 31, 2013

In a putative class-action alleging that defendant violated former college football player-plaintiffs' rights of publicity under California Civil Code § 3344 and California common law by using his likeness as part of the NCAA Football video series, the district court's denial of defendant's anti-SLAPP motion to strike and holding that defendant had no First Amendment defense against the right-of-publicity claims of plaintiffs is affirmed, where: 1) under the "transformative use" test developed by the California Supreme Court, defendant's use did not qualify for First Amendment protection as a matter of law because it literally recreated plaintiff in the very setting in which he had achieved renown; 2) the Rogers test which had been created to evaluate Lanham Act claims does not apply in the right-of-publicity arena; and 3) the state-law defenses for the reporting of factual information did not protect defendant's use.

Ketchikan Drywall Services, Inc. v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (No. 11-73105 )

Decision Date: August 6, 2013

The petition for review from an Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) decision which upheld the defendant's finding that petitioner violated the Immigration and Nationality Act and the resulting civil penalty is denied, where: 1) petitioner violated 8 U.S.C. section 1324a(b), which requires employers to verify that their employees are legally authorized to work in the United States; 2) it is neither arbitrary nor capricious to require that employers complete Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (I-9 Forms), and copying and retaining documents is neither necessary nor sufficient for compliance; and 3) the penalties were imposed for substantive deficiencies on the I-9 Forms themselves, and the ALJ's refusal to reduce the penalty was neither arbitrary nor capricious.

Urbino v. Orkin Servs. of Cal., Inc. (No. 11-56944)

Decision Date: August 13, 2013

In an action brought under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 alleging multiple wage claims, the district court's order denying plaintiff's motion to remand and directing matter to state court is vacated where federal courts lack subject matter jurisdiction over this California dispute because the recoveries at issue cannot be aggregated to meet the amount in controversy requirement.

Blantz v. California Dept. of Corr. and Rehab. (No. 11-56525)

Decision Date: August 15, 2013

In an action brought under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and state law, alleging plaintiff was terminated without explanation from her independent contractor position as a nurse for the California prison medical care system and given negative job references that effectively barred her from further employment in the system, the district court's dismissal of the action is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff did not have a constitutionally protected interest in her independent contractor position; and 2) a state agency does not create protected property interests for its independent contractors simply by instituting performance review procedures.

Dahlia v. Rodriguez (No. 10-55978 )

Decision Date: August 21, 2013

The district court's dismissal of a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action brought by plaintiff-police officer who alleged that he was placed on administrative leave in retaliation for disclosing fellow officers' misconduct is reversed and remanded, where: 1) Huppert v. City of Pittsburg, 574 F.3d 696 (9th Cir. 2009) is overruled; 2) after Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), courts must make a "practical" inquiry when determining the scope of a government employee's professional duties and that Huppert erred in concluding that California broadly defines police officers' duties as a matter of law for the purpose of First Amendment retaliation analysis; and 3) placement on administrative leave can constitute an adverse employment action

Smith v. Clark County School District (No. 11-17398 )

Decision Date: August 21, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant-employer on plaintiff's claims of disability discrimination and failure to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is: 1) affirmed in part, where the district court did not abuse its discretion by granting defendant-employer's motion for reconsideration of its initial order denying summary judgment; but 2) reversed in part and remanded, where viewing the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff, a reasonable juror could conclude that plaintiff's applications for disability benefits are consistent with her ADA claim, and thus triable issues of fact remain.

Wang v. Chinese Daily News, Inc. (No. 08-56740 )

Decision Date: September 3, 2013

In a new opinion following remand from the U.S. Supreme Court for reconsideration in light of in light of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011), in an action in which plaintiffs allege violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), California's Unfair Business Practices Law, and the California Labor Code, the district court\'s certification of the FLSA claim as a collective action and the state-law claims as a class action, is: 1) reversed as to the district court\'s class certification under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(2) for purposes of monetary relief; 2) vacated and remanded in part, as to the findings of commonality and predominance; and 3) vacated and remanded in part, for reconsideration of class certification under Rule 23(b)(2) for purposes of injunctive relief.

Petitt v. Sause Brothers (No. 12-70740 )

Decision Date: September 20, 2013

Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, scheduled wage increases given by a non-union employer to all employees in a certain class based solely upon seniority were a general increase in wages and did not increase a claimant's wage-earning capacity, and therefore, should not be calculated into petitioner's wage-earning capacity for the purposes of calculating disability benefits.

Abdullah v. U.S. Security Associates, Inc. (No. 11-55653 )

Decision Date: September 27, 2013

The district court's order certifying a class of former and current employees of defendant, who allege that defendant committed numerous violations of California labor law, is affirmed, where: 1) the district court did not abuse its discretion by certifying a meal break sub-class, 2) plaintiffs' claims will yield a common answer that is "apt to drive the resolution of the litigation," and 3) common issues of law or fact will predominate

Chavarria v. Ralphs Grocery Company (No. 11-56673 )

Decision Date: October 28, 2013

The district court properly denied defendant-employer's motion to compel arbitration in an action asserting claims under California labor law on behalf of the plaintiff and a proposed class of other employees, where: 1) the arbitration policy was procedurally and substantively unconscionable under California contract law and therefore unenforceable; and 2) the state law supporting the unconsionability holding was not preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act because it applied to contracts generally and did not in practice impact arbitration agreements disproportionately.

Muniz v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (No. 11-17282 )

Decision Date: December 5, 2013

The district court's order awarding attorneys' fees to a prevailing plaintiff under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act is: 1) affirmed in part, where the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding the prevailing plaintiff $697,971.80 in attorneys' fees where the jury awarded her only $27,280 in damages because, although there was a clear disparity between the damages recovered and the fees awarded, California law did not require the district court to reduce the disparity; but 2) vacated and remanded in part, where the fee award to a paralegal was based upon inadmissible hearsay.

Aircraft Service International, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters (No. 12-36026)

Decision Date: January 10, 2014

In an action brought under the Railway Labor Act (RLA) against "carrier employees" of an aircraft service provider, the district court's issuance of a preliminary strike injunction is affirmed, where: 1) the district court's exercise of jurisdiction in this case proper, because the employees are covered by the RLA and have a legal obligation to engage in the RLA's procedures with which they have not complied; and 2) the strike injunction was not overbroad in violation of the First Amendment.

Rea v. Michaels Stores (No. 14-55008 )

Decision Date: February 18, 2014

In an action which alleged that defendant had improperly classified its managers as exempt from overtime, the district court's order remanding the case back to state court is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the action was not moot based on the state court's subsequent determination to certify the class; 2) the second removal of the case under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) was timely; and 3) the CAFA's amount-in-controversy requirement was met.

Haro v. City of Los Angeles (No. 12-55062 )

Decision Date: March 18, 2014

Summary judgment for plaintiffs, fire department dispatchers and aeromedical technicians employed by defendant-city, in an action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), is affirmed, where: 1) plaintiffs were entitled to standard overtime pay because they did not fall within an exemption for employees "engaged in fire protection;" 2) plaintiffs did not have the legal authority and responsibility to engage in fire suppression under FLSA sections 207(k) and 203(y); 3) the statute of limitations should be extended from two to three years because of defendant-city's willful violation of the FLSA; 4) liquidated damages should be awarded because defendant-city could not show good faith or reasonable grounds for violating the FLSA; and 5) offsets for overtime payments defendant-city had already made should be calculated on a week-by-week basis.

Perez v. USDC (State of Washington Department of Social and Health Servs.) (No. 13-72195 )

Decision Date: April 18, 2014

In the US Department of Labor Secretary's action against the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the district court's order compelling the Secretary's response to interrogatories, which would disclose the identities of employees who supported the FLSA claims, is vacated and a writ of mandamus issued to protect these identities because: 1) the timing of employees' statements did not affect their status as informants; and 2) knowledge of their identities would not significantly aid DSHS.

Third Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virgin Islands

Prowel v. Wise Bus. Forms, Inc. (No. 07-3997)

Decision Date: August 28, 2009

In an employment discrimination action under Title VII involving claims of gender stereotyping and religious harassment, district court\'s grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant is vacated with respect to the gender stereotyping claim, as the record below is ambiguous as to whether the claim was based on sexual orientation or discrimination because of sex, and thus because both are plausible, the case presents a question of fact for the jury and is not appropriate for summary judgment. District court\'s grant of summary judgment on the religious harassment claim was proper as plaintiff cannot satisfy the first element of his cause of action that there was intentional harassment because of religion.

Mikula v. Allegheny County of Pennsylvania (No. 07-4023)

Decision Date: September 10, 2009

In plaintiff's gender and employment discrimination action alleging pay disparity against County-employer under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act of 1963, district court's judgment that the Title VII claim is untimely as to paychecks plaintiff received after June 20, 2006, is reversed and remanded in light of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, where a failure to answer a request for a raise qualifies as a compensation decision because the result is the same as if the request had been explicitly denied.

Erdman v. Nationwide Ins. Co. (07-3796)

Decision Date: September 23, 2009

In plaintiff's case against her former employer under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and for retaliation, summary judgment in favor of defendant-employer is affirmed in part, and vacated and remanded in part where: 1) the record indicates that a reasonable jury could conclude that defendant-Nationwide had constructive notice of hours plaintiff worked from home and thus, she was eligible for FMLA leave for purposes of summary judgment; 2) the version of section 825.110 in effect at the time of plaintiff's dismissal was invalid; 3) firing an employee for a valid request for FMLA leave may constitute interference with the employee's FMLA rights as well as retaliation against the employee; and 4) because no reasonable jury could conclude that plaintiff was fired because of her daughter's known disability, district court's summary judgment on her ADA claim is affirmed.

Elkadrawy v. Vanguard Group Inc. (No. 09-1105)

Decision Date: October 6, 2009

In plaintiff's race, national-origin, employment discrimination and retaliation action against defendant-former employer, district court's dismissal of plaintiff's federal claims in his second complaint is affirmed as plaintiff's federal claims are barred by res judicata because his section 1981 claims arise from the same set of facts as his Title VII claims which were dismissed in his first complaint. Also, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's state claim and dismissed without prejudice instead of dismissing that claim with prejudice.

Pignataro v. Port Auth. of New York & New Jersey (No. 08-3605)

Decision Date: January 27, 2010

In plaintiffs' suit against defendant-Port Authority under the FLSA, alleging they were denied proper overtime pay as helicopter pilots, summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs is affirmed where: 1) Port Authority helicopter pilots are not "learned professionals" and are not exempt from the provisions of the FLSA; 2) district court correctly concluded that Port Authority's violation of the FLSA was not willful, and that plaintiffs were thus entitled to only two years of back pay, not three; and 3) district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding prejudgment interest to plaintiffs.

Schaar v. Lehigh Valley Health Servs., Inc. (No. 09-1635)

Decision Date: March 11, 2010

In plaintiff's suit against her former employer for violation of the FMLA, summary judgment in favor employer is vacated and remanded as an employee may satisfy her burden of proving three days of incapacitation through a combination of expert medical and lay testimony. Here, when expert medical opinion of a doctor that plaintiff was incapacitated for two days because of her illness is combined with plaintiff's lay testimony that she was incapacitated for two additional days, it necessarily follows that a material issue of fact exists as to whether plaintiff suffered from a serious health condition.

Colwell v. Rite Aid Corp. (No. 08-4675)

Decision Date: April 8, 2010

In an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) action claiming constructive discharge based on plaintiff's partial blindness, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed in part where no reasonable juror could find that the actions to which plaintiff referred made her workplace so unbearable that a reasonable person would have felt compelled to resign. However, the judgment is reversed in part where the ADA contemplated that employers may need to make reasonable shift changes in order to accommodate a disabled employee's disability-related difficulties in getting to work.

Sulima v. Tobyhanna Army Depot (No. 08-4684)

Decision Date: April 12, 2010

In plaintiff's suit against several federal government defendants under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, arising from a voluntary layoff from employment at the Tobyhanna Army Depot, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed where: 1) because plaintiff did not demonstrate that the medications that were causing his problems were medically necessary, their side effects cannot be considered as impairments within the meaning of the ADA; 2) plaintiff's employers did not regard him as disabled within the meaning of the ADA; and 3) plaintiff could not have had a good faith belief that his side effects were anything but temporary, and therefore he could not have had a good faith belief that he was disabled within the meaning of the ADA.

Lozano v. City of Hazleton (No. 07-3531)

Decision Date: September 9, 2010

In plaintiffs' suit against the City of Hazleton to enjoin enforcement of ordinances that attempt to regulate employment of, and provision of rental housing to, certain aliens, district court's entry of permanent injunction against the city is affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded where: 1) district court erred in reaching the merits of the challenge to the private cause of action provision because no plaintiff has standing to challenge that provision; 2) the employment provisions of the ordinances stand as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of IRCA's objective, and thus are preempted; and 3) the housing provisions of the city's ordinances are preempted regulations of immigration, and both field and conflict preempted by the INA.

Miller v. American Airlines, Inc. (No. 10-1784 )

Decision Date: January 25, 2011

In a suit brought by a pilot alleging a violation of section 502(a)(1)(B) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. section 1132(a)(1)(B), claiming that airline employer impermissibly terminated his long-term disability benefits, the grant of summary judgment for employer is reversed where the termination of benefits was arbitrary and capricious in light of the numerous substantive deficiencies and procedural irregularities that pervaded employer's decision-making process.

Leap Systems Inc v. Moneytrax Inc (No. 10-2965, 10-3107)

Decision Date: March 15, 2011

In a commercial dispute, district court's order denying motion by petitioner to unseal portions of a judicial record containing the terms of a confidential settlement agreement is affirmed, where, on balance, the privacy interest of plaintiff outweighs public interest in disclosure.

Symczyk v. Genesis Healthcare Corporation (No. 10-3178)

Decision Date: August 31, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, a class-action for relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. sections 207 and 216(b), judgment is reversed where a collective action brought under Section 216(b) does not become moot when, prior to moving for "conditional certification" and prior to any other plaintiff opting in to the suit, the putative representative receives a Rule 68 offer.

Meditz v. City of Newark (No. 10-2442)

Decision Date: September 28, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiff's challenge to defendant's residency requirement for its non-uniformed work force on summary adjudication, judgment is reversed because, on the record, summary judgment was inappropriate where complaint alleges that the adopted requirement has a disparate impact on white, non-Hispanics because Newark's population does not reflect the racial make-up of the relevant labor market in the surrounding area.

US Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen (No. 10-3836 )

Decision Date: November 16, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of district court ordering full reimbursement of medical expenses under Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA without allowance for legal costs, judgment is reversed and remanded where Section 502(a)(3) is subject to equitable limitations.

Chester v. Grane Health Care (No. 11-2573 )

Decision Date: December 7, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court concerning the standard for awarding interim injunctive relief under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act, judgment is affirmed where the court correctly granted an interim bargaining order, but remanded for a determination of whether relief is appropriate under the Circuit's two-part test

Bull v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (No. 10-4339)

Decision Date: January 4, 2012

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiff's state-law employment discrimination case, judgment is reversed where the court abused its discretion by dismissing complaint as a sanction for plaintiff's failure to produce originals of medical notes requested by the defendant

Haybarger v. Lawrence County Adult Probation and Parole (No. 10-3916)

Decision Date: January 31, 2012

In an employee's suit under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the district court's summary judgment in favor of the employee's supervisor is reversed, as: 1) the FMLA permits individual liability against supervisors at public agencies; and 2) the district court erred in holding that the supervisor was not an employer under the FMLA, where the record suggested that he exercised control over the conditions of the plaintiff's employment.

Knepper v. Rite Aid Corp. (No. 11-1684)

Decision Date: March 27, 2012

In consolidated opt-out Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3) damages class actions based on state statutory wage and overtime laws that paralleled the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which suits alleged violations arising from the same conduct by the same defendant sued in a separate opt-in collective action under the FLSA at 29 USC section 216(b), the district court's judgment granting the defendants' motion to dismiss on the pleadings is: 1) reversed, as a) purported "inherent incompatibility" with FLSA 216(b) actions does not defeat otherwise available federal jurisdiction over opt-out actions based on state law, and b) permitting the opt-out class action to proceed alongside the FLSA opt-in action would not violate the Rules Enabling Act; and 2) affirmed to the extent it held that the state laws were not preempted by the FLSA.

Sec'y of Labor v. Doyle (No. 10-3598)

Decision Date: March 27, 2012

In an action by the Secretary of Labor against individuals arising from their alleged breach of fiduciary duties to a union health benefit plan governed by ERISA, the district court's judgment for the defendants is vacated and the case remanded, where the district court erred in failing to determine whether payments--collected by two companies that enabled small businesses to obtain health benefits for their employees by enrolling the employees in the plan, and by a company that marketed this scheme--were plan assets subject to ERISA.

Maynard v. Rivera (No. 10-3476)

Decision Date: April 2, 2012

In a former employee's suit alleging unlawful termination from employment for refusal to endorse a paycheck presented to her as a receipt for the employer, an order of the appellate division of the district court in favor of the employee is reversed, where: 1) the Virgin Islands Wrongful Discharge Act permitted the termination of an employee who "wilfully and intentionally disobeys reasonable and lawful rules, orders, and instructions of the employer"; 2) the employer's requirement that the employee endorse an unsigned paycheck as a receipt of payment was reasonable; and 3) the reasonableness of an employer's administrative order cannot be dependent on each employee's personal needs, whether known or unknown to the employer.

In Re: Enterprise Rent-A-Car Wage & Hour Employment Practices Litigation (No. 11-2883 )

Decision Date: June 28, 2012

In a nationwide collective class action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) alleging failure to pay required overtime wages, the district court's grant of summary judgment for the sole stockholder of thirty eight domestic subsidiaries is affirmed where it is not a "joint employer" of the subsidiaries' assistant managers within the meaning of the FLSA.

Lichtenstein v. Univ. of Pittsburgh Med. Ctr. (No. 11-3419 )

Decision Date: August 3, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against her former employer alleging that the termination of her employment was a violation under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer is vacated and remanded, as genuine factual disputes exist about whether plaintiff's notice was adequate, whether her invocation of FMLA rights was a negative factor precipitating her termination and whether the employer's justification for its action was mere pretext for retaliation.

Zavala v. Wal Mart Stores, Inc. (No. 11-2381 )

Decision Date: August 9, 2012

In a suit brought by Wal-Mart cleaning crew seeking compensation for unpaid overtime and certification of a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), civil damages under RICO, and damages for false imprisonment, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant is affirmed where: 1) plaintiffs have failed to satisfy the "similarly situated" standard, as the similarities among the proposed plaintiffs are too few, and the differences among the proposed plaintiffs are too many; 2) plaintiffs have failed to state a claim for RICO or RICO conspiracy by failing to allege a pattern of predicate acts; and 3) summary judgment on plaintiffs' false imprisonment claim is appropriate as they have not shown that emergency exits were absent in the buildings or obstructed in any way.

Ragguette v. Premier Wines & Spirits (No. 11-2553 )

Decision Date: August 15, 2012

In an action for employment discrimination and related claims, plaintiff's appeal of the district court's grant of the employer's motion for summary judgment is dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction as the district court improperly granted plaintiff's motion for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal under Rule 4(a)(5), in erroneously finding that plaintiff established "excusable neglect" under the rule.

Connelly v. Steel Valley School District (No. 11-4206 )

Decision Date: January 24, 2013

In 1983 action challenging defendant-school district's failure to fully credit plaintiff's out-of-state teaching experience in setting his salary, district court's grant of defendant's motion to dismiss is affirmed, where: 1) rational basis review applies to the experienced-based classification because it does not implicate a fundamental right; 2) it does not violate the Constitution for defendant to base its teacher salaries, in part, on prior in-state teaching experience; and 3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff leave to amend his complaint.

Burton v. Teleflex (11-3752)

Decision Date: February 21, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant-employer is: 1) reversed and remanded on plaintiff's discrimination and breach of contract claims, where the record clearly demonstrates that a dispute of material fact exists as to whether plaintiff resigned or was terminated; but 2) affirmed on plaintiff's claims for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, wrongful interference with contractual relations, and defamation because plaintiff has not demonstrated disputes of material fact as to these remaining state law claims. - See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/summary/opinion/us-3rd-circuit/2013/02/20/262663.html?DCMP=NWL-cons_humanresource#sthash.1hCMGtvL.dpuf

Freeman v. Pittsburgh Glass Works LLC (No. 12-2026)

Decision Date: March 6, 2013

Denial of plaintiff\'s motion to vacate the arbitrator\'s decision that rejected his discrimination claim, is affirmed, where: 1) the administrative closing of the case is not a final order and did not deprive the district court of jurisdiction; 2) plaintiff\'s claim fails because no reasonable person would conclude that the arbitrator was partial to defendant because neither her teaching relationship with defendant\'s employee nor undisclosed election support establish evident partiality or an appearance of bias, particularly where the law firm representing plaintiff contributed to the arbitrator\'s campaign five times the amount that defendant did; and 3) plaintiff\'s fraud claim fails.

Montone v. City of Jersey City (No. 11-2990)

Decision Date: March 8, 2013

Summary judgments in favor of defendants on plaintiffs' claims of retaliation for the exercise of First Amendment rights and discrimination when they were denied promotions to lieutenant, are vacated and remanded, where: 1) on plaintiff Montone's political affiliation claim, the district court misapplied the summary judgment standard by weighing evidence and drawing inferences against plaintiff Montone, even after acknowledging that she presented sufficient evidence to show that the reasons proffered defendants for her non-promotion may have been pretextual, improperly dismissed evidence of a culture of political patronage in Jersey City, and erred in granting summary judgment based upon evidence of the promotion of another mayoral supporter; 2) on plaintiff Montone's First Amendment retaliation claim, the district court erred by concluding that her gender discrimination complaints did not involve matters of public concern; 3) the Astriab plaintiffs have standing; and 4) on the the Astriab plaintiffs' claims of retaliation, there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether plaintiff Montone's political conduct was a motivating factor in the defendants' decision not to promote the Astriab plaintiffs.

Covington v. International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (No. 11-3096)

Decision Date: March 14, 2013

Dismissal of plaintiff's complaint alleging defendants discriminated against her by excluding her from officiating at boys' high school varsity basketball games, is: 1) affirmed in part with regard to the claims against defendants CVC and IAABO because plaintiff cannot allege an employment relationship for the purposes of Title VII and Title IX; but 2) reversed in part and remanded because plaintiff has plausibly alleged an employment relationship with defendant Hamilton for regular season games, with NJSIAA for post-season games, and with Board 193 as an employment agency

Wiest v. Lynch (No. 11-4257)

Decision Date: March 19, 2013

Judgment dismissing federal whistleblower action under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and related state law claims, is: 1) reversed in part as to the dismissal of two of the federal whistleblower claims, where a) the district court erred in requiring that plaintiff allege that his communications to his supervisors "definitively and specifically relate to" an existing violation of a particular anti-fraud law, as opposed to expressing a reasonable belief that corporate managers are taking actions that could run afoul of a particular anti-fraud law, and b) plaintiff pled sufficient facts to establish that his communication relating to the Atlantis and Wintergreen event was protected activity under Section 806; 2) affirmed in part where plaintiff cannot establish that his communications relating to the other alleged matters constituted protected activity; and 3) vacated as to the state law claim.

Akers National Roll Company v. United Steel, Paper and Forest (No. 12-1727)

Decision Date: April 4, 2013

The district court erred in granting summary judgment to plaintiff-company and vacating an arbitrator's award that sustained defendant-union's three grievances and ordered the plaintiff-company to pay an employee back wages for missed overtime, where: 1) the CBA was not so free of ambiguity regarding plaintiff-company's exclusive right to schedule its workforce such that the arbitrator's inquiry into past practice and introduction of extrinsic evidence were not permissible; 2) the arbitrator's interpretation draws its essence from the CBA, and the arbitrator did not manifestly disregard the CBA; and thus, 3) an order is issued to enforce the arbitrator's award.

Grane Health Care v. NLRB (No. 11-4345)

Decision Date: April 5, 2013

Petitioner-company's petition for review of the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) decision that petitioner violated provisions of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is denied, and the NLRB's petition for enforcement is granted, where: 1) substantial evidence supported the NLRB's determination that petitioners were a single employer, and thus jointly and severally liable for violations of the NLRA committed by either of them; 2) the NLRB acted consistently with the NLRA in applying the successorship doctrine to find that petitioner had a duty to bargain with Local 1305; and 3) the NLRB's ruling that the petitioner violated the NLRA by refusing to hire five former Laurel Crest employees is supported by substantial evidence.

Mariotti, Sr. v. Mariotti Building Products, Inc. (No. 11-3148)

Decision Date: April 29, 2013

Judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiff's claim of religious discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, is affirmed, where: 1) the test set forth in Clackamas Gastroenterology Associates, P.C. v. Wells for determining whether a shareholder-director of a professional corporation is an employee for purposes of the American with Disabilities Act is applicable to business entities that are not professional corporations in a Title VII employment action; and 2) the district court did not err in its determination that the allegations in plaintiff's complaint did not establish that he was an employee under Title VII.

New Vista Nursing and Rehabilitation v. NLRB (No. 11-3440)

Decision Date: May 16, 2013

Summary judgment for nurses union against plaintiff on a charge of unfair labor practices, and subsequent orders affirming the same, are vacated, where: 1) the Recess of the Senate in the Recess Appointments Clause refers to only intersession breaks, i.e. breaks between sessions of the Senate; and consequently, 2) the NLRB panel below lacked the requisite number of members to exercise the NLRB's authority because one panel member was invalidly appointed during an intrasession break.

Lozano v. City of Hazleton (No. 07-3531)

Decision Date: July 26, 2013

On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, and upon consideration Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting and Arizona v. US, the court again concludes that both the employment and housing provisions of defendant's ordinances, which prohibit employment of unauthorized aliens and preclude them from renting housing within the city, are pre-empted by federal immigration law, and accordingly, the district court's order enjoining enforcement of these provisions is again affirmed.

Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation v. Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (No. 13-1144)

Decision Date: July 26, 2013

In an action alleging that regulations promulgated by defendants, which require group health plans and health insurance issuers to provide coverage for contraceptives, violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the district court's denial of plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction is affirmed, where: 1) a for-profit, secular corporation cannot assert a claim under the Free Exercise Clause; 2) a for-profit, secular corporation cannot engage in the exercise of religion and therefore cannot it cannot assert a claim under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; 3) the individual owners of plaintiff do not have viable claims because the mandate is imposed on plaintiff; and thus, 4) plaintiff is not entitled to a preliminary injunction

Marmon Coal Company v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (No. 12-3388 )

Decision Date: August 8, 2013

Petition for review of a decision by the Benefits Review Board of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), which confirmed an award of survivors' benefits to a widow of petitioner's former employee under the Black Lung Benefits Act, is denied, where: 1) this case concerns a "subsequent" claim for benefits by a surviving dependent under the recently amended Act; 2) section 932(l) of the Act, as amended, applies to subsequent claims that are filed and pending within the proper temporal thresholds; and 3) res judicata does not preclude a post-amendment award of survivors' benefits on a subsequent claim where the original claim was denied due to the claimant's failure to show that pneumoconiosis substantially contributed to the miner's death.

Bell v. SEPTA (No. 12-4031 )

Decision Date: August 19, 2013

Dismissal of a class action brought by plaintiff-employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to recover unpaid wages and overtime compensation for work performed during morning "pre-trip" inspections required before the start of each employees' daily run, is vacated and remanded, where plaintiff-employees' FLSA claim does not require the interpretation of the collective bargaining agreements and therefore is not subject to those agreements' grievance and arbitration provisions.

Camesi v. UPMC Health System (No. 12-1446 )

Decision Date: September 4, 2013

Appeals of district court orders denying final certification of a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act by named plaintiffs who dismissed their individual claims but seek to pursue an appeal on behalf of others who opted into the litigation, are dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, where the named plaintiffs lack final orders appealable under 28 U.S.C. section 1291

Eighth Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota

EEOC v. Siouxland Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Assoc. (No. 07-2419)

Decision Date: August 27, 2009

In an employment and sex discrimination case under Title VII, district court\'s judgment is reversed in part and remanded where: 1) district court erred in not submitting plaintiff\'s claim for punitive damages to the jury and granting defendant judgment as a matter of law on that claim as under Title VII, punitive damages are available if a plaintiff shows that the employer engaged in intentional discrimination with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights, and evidence presented by the EEOC at trial was sufficient for a jury to find that defendant acted in the face of a perceived risk that it was violating plaintiffs\' Title VII rights; 2) district court did not abuse its discretion in denying EEOC\'s request for injunctive relief to enjoin defendant from discriminating on the basis of pregnancy or retaliating against any employee who complains of unlawful discrimination as, in light of the two isolated instances of discrimination, there was not a consistent practice of discrimination suggesting further discrimination was likely; 3) court declined to address the district court\'s award of attorney\'s fees at this time as further proceedings are necessary on the issue of punitive damages.

Rush v. Perryman (No. 08-3148)

Decision Date: September 3, 2009

In former college president's action against the college's Board of Trustees alleging violation of his state and federal statutory and constitutional rights, denial of defendant's motion for qualified immunity is affirmed where plaintiff's employment was terminated in an open session of the Board for alleged misconduct including dishonesty - an accepted stigmatizing charge - and thus, plaintiff sufficiently demonstrated a violation of his clearly established due process right to a post-termination name-clearing hearing.

Baker v. Silver Oak Senior Living Mgmt. Co. (No. 08-1036)

Decision Date: September 14, 2009

In an age discrimination action based on an alleged wrongful termination, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where there was evidence that people who participated in the decision to terminate plaintiff evinced a preference for the employment of younger workers over persons in the class protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

White v. Nat'l Football League (No. 08-2001)

Decision Date: November 10, 2009

In a case involving whether, after NFL quarterback Michael Vick was convicted of dog fighting charges, his team was entitled to recover certain bonus money he earned, rulings against the NFL are affirmed where: 1) the district court properly rejected the NFL's argument that Vick's roster bonuses were signing bonus allocations subject to the years-performed test; and 2) it did not err in determining that the bonuses were earned when Vick met the roster provisions in his contract, and were thus not subject to forfeiture pursuant to the terms of a settlement in an antitrust class action and the CBA. Moreover, the denial of the NFL's motion to recuse the district judge and terminate the consent decree is affirmed where 1) there was no indication that the NFL was restrained by any fear of antitrust liability; 2) the parties' agreement to the district court's involvement mitigated concerns about unsettling the power structure under the labor laws; and 3) the district judge's comments to the press did not create an appearance of partiality.

Gross v. FBL Fin. Servs., Inc. (No. 07-1490)

Decision Date: November 30, 2009

In an Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) action claiming that defendant demoted plaintiff because of his age, judgment for plaintiff is reversed where the burden of persuasion should not have been shifted to the defendant in this ADEA case considering that plaintiff never set forth any direct evidence of age discrimination, and the jury instruction at issue impermissibly shifted the burden in such a manner.

Lewis v. Heartland Inns of Am., L.L.C. (No. 08-3860)

Decision Date: January 21, 2010

In a sex discrimination action, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where: 1) plaintiff's supervisor's criticism of plaintiff for lack of "prettiness" and the "Midwestern girl look" before terminating her could be found by a reasonable factfinder to be evidence of wrongful sex stereotyping; and 2) the district court erred in requiring plaintiff to offer evidence that similarly situated men were treated differently.

Parrish v. Ball (No. 08-3517)

Decision Date: February 10, 2010

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action based on a sheriff's alleged failure to provide sexual harassment training to a subordinate, judgment for plaintiff is reversed where: 1) the Arkansas Code did not impose a duty on the county to train its officers not to sexually assault detainees; and 2) there was nothing in the record suggesting that defendant received any notice of a pattern of unconstitutional acts committed by any of his subordinates.

Parrish v. Ball (No. 08-3517)

Decision Date: February 10, 2010

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action based on a sheriff's alleged failure to provide sexual harassment training to a subordinate, judgment for plaintiff is reversed where: 1) the Arkansas Code did not impose a duty on the county to train its officers not to sexually assault detainees; and 2) there was nothing in the record suggesting that defendant received any notice of a pattern of unconstitutional acts committed by any of his subordinates.

Lake v. Yellow Transp., Inc. (No. 09-1392)

Decision Date: March 2, 2010

In a race discrimination action, summary judgment for defendant-employer is reversed where: 1) plaintiff was not required to disprove defendant's reason for firing him at the stage of the analysis where plaintiff needed to show that he met his employer's legitimate expectations; and 2) there were material factual disputes over plaintiff's attendance and availability record, and whether defendant applied its policies equally.

EEOC v. Kelly Servs., Inc. (No. 08-3880)

Decision Date: March 25, 2010

In an action by the EEOC alleging that defendant employment agency discriminated against a Muslim by failing to refer her to an employer because of her refusal to remove her khimar for work, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where the EEOC failed to show that the employer had an available position to which defendant could actually refer the candidate when she applied for available temporary work.

Frevert v. Ford Motor Co. (No. 09-2531)

Decision Date: July 20, 2010

In an action against Ford Motor Company alleging wrongful discharge under the Missouri common law public policy exception to the employment at-will doctrine, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where plaintiff's complaint never alleged a violation of a specific legal provision and whether such legal provision involved a clear mandate of public policy, and plaintiff's belated affidavit discussing alleged violations of law directly contradicted both his complaint and interrogatories.

Fuller v. Fiber Glass Sys., L.P. (No. 09-2732)

Decision Date: August 25, 2010

In an action under 42 U.S.C. section 1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claiming discrimination (non-selection), harassment (supervisor and co-worker), and retaliation, judgment for plaintiff is affirmed where: 1) a reasonable juror could find that plaintiff did not unreasonably fail to take advantage of preventative/corrective opportunities offered by defendant, and thus defendant was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the Ellerth-Faragher affirmative defense; 2) the testimony regarding plaintiff's emotional distress was sufficient to allow a reasonable juror to award plaintiff $65,000 in compensatory damages; and 3) any issue with the magistrate judge presiding over the punitive damages portion of the trial was moot.

EEOC v. Con-Way Freight, Inc. (Nos. 09-2926, 09-2930)

Decision Date: September 22, 2010

In an action by the EEOC claiming that defendant failed to hire a prospective employee because of her race in violation of Title VII, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where plaintiff's evidence was insufficient to allow a reasonable jury to infer that defendant did not have a policy of automatically disqualifying applicants with theft-related convictions, and a reasonable jury would conclude that such a policy existed.

Newberry v. Burlington Basket Co. (No. 09-3082)

Decision Date: September 28, 2010

In an action alleging that defendant violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA) by terminating plaintiff's employment because of her age, judgment for plaintiff is affirmed where: 1) the jury's award of damages was supported by the finding of liability under the ICRA, and the incorrect statement of the law under the ADEA did not prejudice defendant; and 2) the district court expressly considered the factors relevant to determining a reasonable fee award under Iowa law, and made findings of fact regarding those factors.

Smith v. Hy-Vee, Inc. (No. 09-2631)

Decision Date: October 12, 2010

In an action for sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act, judgment for defendant is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff's supervisor treated all employees, both male and female, in the same vulgar and inappropriate way; and 2) plaintiff effectively waived any objection to defendant's motion in limine.

Bonn v. City of Omaha (No. 09-3332)

Decision Date: October 19, 2010

In an action claiming that plaintiff was wrongfully terminated from her position as the Public Safety Auditor for the City of Omaha after she published a report criticizing the Omaha Police Department, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed where the evidence did not support a finding that plaintiff reasonably believed that she opposed an unlawful employment practice by publishing her report.

U.S. Supreme Court

Appeals from federal circuit (intermediate appellate level) courts and original hearing for disputes between states

Union Pac. R.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Eng'rs. (08-604)

Decision Date: December 8, 2009

In an arbitration before the National Railroad Adjustment Board (NRAB) between a railroad and a union regarding disciplinary action against certain employees, a circuit court's order reversing the NRAB's dismissal of the arbitration for failure to conduct a pre-arbitration conference is affirmed where, by refusing to adjudicate the cases on the false premise that it lacked jurisdiction to hear them, the NRAB panel failed to conform, or confine itself, to matters Congress placed within the scope of NRAB jurisdiction.

Lewis v. Chicago (No. 08-974)

Decision Date: May 24, 2010

In a Title VII action challenging Chicago's practice of selecting only applicants who scored 89 or above on a written examination because of its disparate impact on African-Americans, the Seventh Circuit's reversal of judgment for plaintiff is reversed where a plaintiff who does not file a timely charge challenging the adoption of a practice may assert a disparate impact claim in a timely charge challenging the employer's later application of that practice as long as he alleges each of the elements of a disparate impact claim.

New Process Steel, L.P. v. NLRB (No. 08-1457)

Decision Date: June 17, 2010

In an appeal from the Seventh Circuit's denial of petitioners' petition for review of the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) finding that petitioners committed unfair labor practices, the order is reversed where section 3(b) of the National Labor Relations Act requires that a delegee group of the NLRB maintain a membership of three in order to exercise the delegated authority of the Board.

Rent-A-Center West, Inc. v. Jackson (No. 09-497)

Decision Date: June 21, 2010

In an employment discrimination action, the Ninth Circuit's reversal of the district court's dismissal of the action based on the parties' agreement to arbitrate is reversed where, under the Federal Arbitration Act, where an agreement to arbitrate includes an agreement that the arbitrator will determine the enforceability of the agreement, if a party challenges specifically the enforceability of that particular agreement, the district court considers the challenge, but if a party challenges the enforceability of the agreement as a whole, the challenge is for the arbitrator.

NASA v. Nelson (No. 09-530)

Decision Date: January 19, 2011

In an action claiming that NASA's National Agency Check with Inquiries background check process violated a constitutional right to informational privacy, the Ninth Circuit's reversal of the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction is reversed where, assuming, without deciding, that the government's challenged inquiries implicated a privacy interest of constitutional significance, that interest, whatever its scope, did not prevent the government from asking reasonable questions of the sort included on the forms at issue in an employment background investigation that was subject to the Privacy Act's safeguards against public disclosure.

Thompson v. N. Am. Stainless, LP (No. 09-291)

Decision Date: January 24, 2011

In an action brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by a man claiming he was fired by his employer in retaliation for his fiancee's filing of an EEOC complaint against the same employer, the Sixth Circuit's affirmance of District Court's grant of summary judgment in favor of employer are reversed and remanded where: 1) if the facts the worker alleges are true, his firing constituted unlawful retaliation; and 2) Title VII grants worker a cause of action.

Staub v. Proctor Hospital (No. 09-400)

Decision Date: March 1, 2011

In dispute involving the scope of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), if a supervisor performs an act motivated by anti-military animus that is intended by the supervisor to cause an adverse employment action, and if that act is a proximate cause of the ultimate employment action, then employer is liable under USERRA.

CIGNA Corp. v. Amara (09-804 )

Decision Date: May 16, 2011

In an ERISA dispute involving the District Court's authority to reform a pension plan, judgment of the appeals court is reversed where although ERISA section 502(a)(1)(B) did not give the District Court authority to reform petitioner's plan, equitable relief may be fashioned from section 502(a)(3).

CSX Transp., Inc. v. McBride (No. 10-235)

Decision Date: June 23, 2011

In a dispute concerning the appropriate causation instruction to give the jury in a claim under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), judgment of the appeals court is affirmed where consistent with the FELA's text and purpose, Rogers v. Missouri Pacific R. Co., and the uniform view of the federal appellate courts, FELA does not incorporate stock proximate cause instruction standards developed in nonstatutory common-law tort actions

Walmart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (No. 10-277)

Decision Date: June 20, 2011

In an action by current or former employees of petitioner Wal-Mart, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief, punitive damages, and backpay, on behalf of themselves and a nationwide class of some 1.5 million female employees, because of Wal-Mart's alleged discrimination against women in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the certification of the class and backpay claims are reversed where: 1) certification of the plaintiff class was not consistent with Rule 23(a); and 2) respondents' backpay claims were improperly certified under Rule 23(b)(2).

Pacific Operators Offshore, LLP v. Valladolid (No. 10-507)

Decision Date: January 11, 2012

In an appeal from a judgment of the appeals court vacating an administrative dismissal of respondent's Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) claim for benefits as a surviving spouse, judgment is affirmed where a claimant seeking benefits under the OCSLA must establish a substantial nexus between the injury and extractive operations on the shelf.

Roberts v. Sea-Land Services, Inc. (No. 10-1399)

Decision Date: March 20, 2012

In a suit under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act for injuries sustained in 2002 at an Alaska marine terminal while working for the respondent, an award of benefits at the fiscal year 2002 statutory maximum rate is affirmed, as an employee is "newly awarded compensation" under the Act when he or she first becomes disabled and thereby becomes statutorily entitled to benefits, no matter whether, or when, a compensation order issues on his or her behalf.

Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland (No. 10-1016)

Decision Date: March 20, 2012

In a suit alleging that a state employer violated the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 USC section 2612(a)(1)(D), by denying the plaintiff self-care leave, dismissal is affirmed, with four justices holding that suits against states under the self-care provision are barred by sovereign immunity, where the sex-based discrimination that supports allowing section 2612(a)(1)(C) suits against states--for denying leave for the care of a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious medical condition--is absent with respect to the self-care provision

Elgin v. Department of the Treasury (No. 11-45)

Decision Date: June 11, 2012

In a suit brought by federal employees discharged pursuant to 5 U.S.C. section 3328, which bars from Executive agency employment anyone who has knowingly and willfully failed to register for the Selective Service as required by the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA), 50 U.S.C. App. section 453, claiming that section 3328 is an unconstitutional bill of attainder and unconstitutionally discriminates based on sex when combined with the MSSA's male-only registration requirement, the First Circuit's dismissal for lack of jurisdiction is affirmed where the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) precludes district court jurisdiction over petitioners' claims, because it is fairly discernible that Congress intended the statute's review scheme to provide the exclusive avenue to judicial review for covered employees who challenge covered adverse employment actions, even when those employees argue that a federal statute is unconstitutional.

Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. (No. 11-204 )

Decision Date: June 18, 2012

In an action by pharmaceutical sales representatives alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for failure to pay overtime wages, 29 U.S.C. section 207(a), the Ninth Circuit's decision denying plaintiffs' motion to alter or amend the judgment and affirming summary judgment to employer, is affirmed where the sales reps qualify as outside salesmen under the most reasonable interpretation of the Department of Labor's regulations, and are therefore exempt from the overtime wage requirement.

Knox v. Service Employees International Union (No. 10-1121)

Decision Date: June 21, 2012

In a class action brought on behalf of nonunion employees who paid into a union's "Emergency Temporary Assessment to Build a Political Fight-Back Fund," alleging the union's violation of their First Amendment rights, the Ninth Circuit's decision in the union's favor, concluding that Teachers v. Hudson, 475 U. S. 292, 302-311, prescribed a balancing test under which the proper inquiry is whether the union's procedures reasonably accommodated the interests of the union, the employer, and the nonmember employees, is reversed where: 1) this case is not moot and a live controversy remains, even though the union offered a full refund to all class members after certiorari was granted; and 2) under the First Amendment, when a union imposes a special assessment or dues increase levied to meet expenses that were not disclosed when the regular assessment was set, it must provide a fresh notice and may not exact any funds from nonmembers without their affirmative consent.

Nitro-Lift Tech, LLC v. Howard (No. 11-1377)

Decision Date: November 26, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against its former employees alleging that defendants had breached their noncompetitive agreements, the judgment of the Oklahoma Supreme Court declaring the agreements in the employment contracts null and void is vacated where it is for the arbitrator to decide in the first instance whether the covenants not to compete are valid as a matter of applicable state law.

Kloeckner v. Solis (No. 11-184)

Decision Date: December 10, 2012

In a federal employee's mixed case action against the Department of Labor, alleging, inter alia, unlawful sex and age discrimination and discriminatory removal, the Court of Appeals' decision affirming the Federal District Court's dismissal for lack of jurisdiction is reversed and remanded where: 1) a federal employee who claims that an agency action appealable to the MSPB violates an antidiscrimination statute listed in section 7702(a) should seek judicial review in district court, not the Federal Circuit, regardless of whether the MSPB decided her case on procedural grounds or on the merits; and 2) sections 7703 and 7702 of the CSRA direct employees like plaintiff to the district court.

US Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen (No. 11-1285)

Decision Date: April 16, 2013

In an ERISA action under section 502(a)(3), which authorizes health-plan administrators to bring a civil action to obtain appropriate equitable relief to enforce the terms of the plan, based on an equitable lien by agreement, the ERISA plan's terms govern. Neither general unjust enrichment principles nor specific doctrines reflecting those principles, such as the double-recovery or common-fund rules, can override the applicable contract.

Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk (No. 11-1059)

Decision Date: April 16, 2013

A collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) on behalf of respondent and other employees similarly situated, was appropriately dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction where, after she ignored petitioners' offer of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, respondent had no personal interest in representing putative, unnamed claimants, nor any other continuing interest that would preserve her suit from mootness.

Hillman v. Maretta (No. 11-1221)

Decision Date: June 3, 2013

The Virginia State Supreme Court correctly concluded that Section D of Va. Code Ann. Section 20-111.1 is preempted by The Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Act of 1954 (FEGLIA), where: 1) FEGLIA establishes an insurance program for federal employees, permitting an employee to name a beneficiary of life insurance proceeds, and specifies an "order of precedence" providing that an employee's death benefits accrue first to that beneficiary ahead of other potential recipients; 2) Section D of the Virginia statute provided a cause of action rendering a former spouse liable to the current spouse for the principal amount of life insurance proceeds left to them by the deceased, where there has been a change in the decedent's marital status but the deceased failed to change the designated beneficiary; and 3) Section D of the Virginia statute conflicts with the purposes and objectives of Congress

Vance v. Ball State University (No. 11-556 )

Decision Date: June 24, 2013

An employee is a "supervisor" for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII only if he or she is empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim, and thus, summary judgment to defendant-employer is affirmed.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar (No. 12-484 )

Decision Date: June 24, 2013

Title VII retaliation claims must be proved according to traditional principles of but-for causation, not the lessened causation test stated in 42 U.S.C. section 2000e-2(m), the motivating-factor test, and therefore the Fifth Circuit\\\'s finding for plaintiff on his retaliation claim using the motivating-factor test is vacated and remanded.

Unite Here Local 355 v. Mulhall (No. 12-99 )

Decision Date: December 10, 2013

Writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted in an action in which the Eleventh Circuit held that: 1) certain promises made by an employer to a union are things of value; 2) an employer's promise to pay them in return for something of value from the union violates the Labor Management Relations Act if the employer intends to use the payment to "corrupt" the union; and 3) a union's request that an employer make such a payment violates section 302(b) of the Act if the union intends to "extort" the benefit from the employer.

Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp. (No. 12-417 )

Decision Date: January 27, 2014

Summary judgment to defendant-employer in a putative collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, seeking backpay for time spent donning and doffing pieces of protective gear that they assert defendant-employer requires workers to wear because of hazards at its steel plants is affirmed, where: 1) 29 U. S. C. section 203(o) allows parties to collectively bargain over whether time spent in changing clothes at the beginning or end of each workday must be compensated; and 2) the time plaintiffs spend donning and doffing their protective gear is not compensable by operation of section 203(o) because it qualifies as "changing clothes" under that section.

Lawson v. FMR LLC (No. 12-3 )

Decision Date: March 4, 2014

The whistleblower protection provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 contained in 18 U. S. C. section 1514A include employees of a public company's private contractors and subcontractors when they report covered forms of fraud.

Fifth Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas

Alaniz v. Zamora-Quezada (No. 07-40325)

Decision Date: December 24, 2009

In an action alleging sex discrimination against the director of certain medical clinics, judgment for plaintiffs is affirmed in part where: 1) the evidence of defendant's harassment of other parties was highly probative to demonstrating a systemic pattern of discrimination at the clinics and relevant to all plaintiffs; and 2) the court of appeals could not conclude that the hearsay testimony admitted by the district court had more than a slight effect on the jury's verdict. However, the judgment is reversed in part where one plaintiff's placement on a two-week probationary period did not rise to the level of a tangible employment action.

Carmona v. Southwest Airlines Co. (No. 08-51175)

Decision Date: March 22, 2010

In an action claiming that the termination of plaintiff's employment violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), partial judgment for defendant is reversed where: 1) there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that plaintiff was an "individual with a disability" within the meaning of the ADA, because there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that he had an impairment, psoriatic arthritis, that substantially limited his major life activity of walking; 2) there was sufficient evidence that defendant's own actions reflected that attendance on scheduled days was not required to qualify for the position of flight attendant; and 3) a reasonable jury could have found defendant's proffered explanation for plaintiff's discharge was false and that the true reason was his disability.

Carmona v. Southwest Airlines Co. (No. 08-51175)

Decision Date: April 22, 2010

In an action claiming that the termination of plaintiff's employment violated Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), judgment as a matter of law for defendant is reversed where: 1) plaintiff presented sufficient evidence that he was substantially limited in the major life activity of walking; and 2) there was no dispute that plaintiff was able to perform the essential functions of his job as a flight attendant when he showed up to work. In addition, the district court's order denying reinstatement is vacated in light of the Fifth Circuit's holding that it was error to grant defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law.

Gagnon v. United Technisource Inc. (No. 09-20098)

Decision Date: May 28, 2010

In an action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) based on defendants' failure to increase plaintiff's "per diem" hourly rate, judgment for plaintiff is affirmed in part where: 1) when, as here, the amount of per diem varies with the amount of hours worked, the per diem payments are part of the regular rate in their entirety; 2) there was no clear error in the district court's finding that the violation was willful; and 3) in paying the per diem, defendant did not pay plaintiff any additional sums that could be characterized as advanced or inappropriate amounts subject to an offset against the overtime owed to him. However, the judgment is vacated in part where the district court needed to provide additional explanation for its awards and with specific instructions to include time spent on this appeal in determining the amount of attorney's fees.

Startran, Inc. v. Occupational Safety & Health Comm. (No. 09-60263)

Decision Date: June 9, 2010

In a petition for review of a determination by the Occupational Safety and Health Commission (the Commission) that petitioner was not exempt from the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) under the provision of 29 U.S.C. section 652(5) stating that for purposes of the Act "'employer' . . . does not include . . . any . . . political subdivision of a State," the petition is granted where, under 29 C.F.R. section 1975.5(b)(2), petitioner was "administered by individuals who are controlled by public officials and responsible to such officials" and was thus exempt from OSHA.

Saenz v. Harlingen Med. Ctr., L.P. (No. 09-40887)

Decision Date: August 3, 2010

In a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) action based on plaintiff's alleged termination due to her epilepsy, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where the district court erred when it held plaintiff to defendant's heightened in-house procedure, and further, plaintiff provided the minimum required notice under FMLA's default requirements.

Castellanos-Contreras v. Decatur Hotels LLC (No. 07-30942)

Decision Date: October 4, 2010

In a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) action claiming that defendant-employer was required to reimburse plaintiffs for their travel expenses, visa fees, and recruitment payments during their first week of work, a denial of summary judgment for defendant is reversed where: 1) the FLSA did not require the reimbursement of the travel expenses; and 2) the FLSA did not require defendant to reimburse plaintiffs for the fees they paid to the various job placement firms.

Fourth Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia

Stone v. Instrumentation Lab. Co. (No. 08-1970)

Decision Date: December 31, 2009

In an employment retaliation action under the whistleblower provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, grant of defendant's motion to dismiss in favor of remand to the appropriate administrative body for further proceedings is vacated and remanded as the plain language of section 1514A(b)(1)(B) unambiguously establishes a Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower complainant's right to de novo review in federal district court if the Department of Labor has not issued a final decision and the statutory 180-day period has expired

Sepulveda v. Allen Family Foods, Inc. (No. 08-2256)

Decision Date: December 29, 2009

In an action brought by employees and their union against a poultry processing plant under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), judgment of the district court in favor of defendant is affirmed as the activity of donning and doffing protective gear constitutes "changing clothes" within the meaning of section 203(o) and is therefore not compensable under the prevailing customs or practices at the plant.

King v. McMillan (No. 08-1667)

Decision Date: February 3, 2010

In plaintiff-former deputy's suit against a sheriff in his official capacity under Title VII for sexual harassment and in his individual capacity under Virginia law for battery, district court's substitution of new sheriff as the defendant in her official capacity in the Title VII claim and jury verdict in favor of plaintiff is affirmed as to accept defendant's argument that because each sheriff in Virginia is by state law a singular entity with an independent tenure, she could not be substituted in her official capacity as the successor to the former sheriff in the Title VII claim, would be to allow a state law to override Title VII in violation of the Supremacy Clause. Defendants' remaining challenges are rejected.

Whitten v. Fred's, Inc. (No. 09-1265)

Decision Date: April 1, 2010

In plaintiff's claims against her former employer for sexual harassment under the South Carolina Human Affairs Law, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant is vacated and remanded where: 1) plaintiff properly exhausted the state administrative remedies; 2) plaintiff's lawsuit was timely filed; 3) judicial estoppel does not preclude plaintiff from pursuing her claims against defendant because she disclosed her potential claim against the defendant in her bankruptcy petition; 4) plaintiff's evidence is sufficient to require a trial on her sexual harassment claims, including her claim that she was constructively discharged; and 5) on remand, the defendant will be entitled to assert the affirmative defense to liability and damages as set forth by the Supreme Court in Faragher and Ellerth as, although defendant is subject to vicarious liability for the supervisor's conduct, there was no tangible employment action and no official act precipitating the asserted constructive discharge.

Merritt v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. (No. 09-1498)

Decision Date: April 9, 2010

In a suit brought after plaintiff-truck driver was terminated from her employment claiming sex discrimination under Title VII when defendant allegedly fired her due to a discriminatory belief that women were incapable of performing the duties of her position, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where plaintiff presented a triable issue of fact as to whether defendant's proffered legitimate and non-discriminatory reason for her termination (failing a physical ability test following an ankle injury) was "pretext for discrimination."

Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n v. Fairbrook Med. Clinic, P.A. ( No. 09-1610)

Decision Date: June 18, 2010

In an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) suit on behalf of plaintiff-doctor against her former employer for creating a hostile work environment because of plaintiff's sex, district court's judgment in favor of the defendant is reversed and remanded as the EEOC has presented an issue of triable fact as what happened was not merely general crudity but a series of graphic remarks of a highly personal nature directed at a female employee by the sole owner of an establishment.

Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals (No. 09-1582 )

Decision Date: November 10, 2010

In an African-American plaintiff's suit against Maryland Court of Appeals and individual defendants for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the FLMA, claiming that he was fired for requesting sick leave because he is black, district court's dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted is affirmed where: 1) district court correctly concluded that the complaint failed to state a Title VII race discrimination claim; 2) district court correctly ruled that plaintiff failed to state a Title VII retaliation claim as no facts in the complaint identify any protected activity by plaintiff that prompted the retaliation of which he complains; 3) district court properly dismissed plaintiff's FMLA claim as barred by the Eleventh Amendment.

Mann v. Heckler & Koch Defense, Inc. (No. 09-1847)

Decision Date: December 27, 2010

In plaintiff's retaliation action against his former employer under the False Claims Act, claiming that defendant took adverse employment action against him because he investigated and opposed defendant's attempts to defraud the United States, in connection with defendant's bid in response to the Secret Service's contract solicitation for rifles, district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment is affirmed as plaintiff's actions fall outside the scope of FCA protection as the FCA shields employees from retaliation when they oppose fraud, and here, the conduct plaintiff opposed involved nothing more than non-fraudulent statements made by defendant during the course of a contractual bidding process.

Desmond v. PNGI Charles Town Gaming (No. 09-2189)

Decision Date: January 14, 2011

In plaintiffs' suit against their former employer for unpaid overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), district court's judgment is affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded where: 1) the district court's method of computing unpaid overtime compensation is affirmed as, in Overnight Motor, the Court recognized that employees and employers are free to agree to a reduced hourly wage in exchange for a fixed weekly salary, provided the fixed weekly salary covers all hours worked and meets minimum wage requirements, and here, the former employees agreed to receive straight time pay for all hours worked in a given workweek and have already received such pay; but 2) the district court erred in granting summary judgment on the issue of willfulness as a genuine issue of material fact exists as to willfulness.

Steel Erectors Association of Am. v. Occupational Safety and Health Admin. (No. 09-2319)

Decision Date: February 17, 2011

Petition for review of an OSHA ruling is dismissed where the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter, as a 2010 directive stating that violations of certain standards would be considered de minimis, and would therefore carry no penalty, if employers took different precautionary measures, is more accurately viewed as a description of the agency's new enforcement policy and not a "standard", which would permit review.

Purdham v. Fairfax County School Board (No. 10-1048)

Decision Date: March 10, 2011

In a labor and employment action alleging defendant failed to pay plaintiff overtime wages, 29 U.S.C section 201 et seq., summary judgment in favor of defendant is affirmed where the defendant properly deemed plaintiff a volunteer.

Grace v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (No. 09-2029)

Decision Date: March 22, 2011

In a dispute under the Fair Labor Standards Act (Act), 29 U.S.C. section 213(a)(1), judgment of the district court is affirmed where plaintiff falls within the executive exemption to the Act because even though she regularly performed nonexecutive tasks, she was the highest level employee of defendant and her income was performance and profit-based.

Adams v. The Trustees of UNCW (No. 10-1413)

Decision Date: April 6, 2011

In a Title VII action alleging retaliation, religious and speech-based discrimination in relation to the decision not to promote plaintiff to the position of full professor, summary judgment in favor of defendants is affirmed in part and reversed in part where district court properly held that plaintiff failed to satisfy his burdens under both Hill v. Lockheed and McDonnell-Douglas, but erred in its McVey analysis of the First Amendment claim.

EEOC v. Xerxes Corporation (No. 10-1156)

Decision Date: April 26, 2011

In a Title VII action alleging a hostile work environment on the basis on race, summary judgment in favor of defendant is affirmed in part and vacated in part because a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendant had notice of alleged racial slurs and pranks in the workplace prior to February 2006 but failed to respond with any remedial action.

Perez v. Mountaire Farms, Inc. (No. 09-1917 )

Decision Date: June 7, 2011

In a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) dispute, 29 U.S.C. sections 201 et seq., judgment of the district court in favor of plaintiffs is affirmed in part and reversed in part where: 1) under the FLSA, time spent donning and doffing protective gear at the beginning and the end of each workday is compensable, while mid-shift donning and doffing is not; and 2) defendant's violations were not willful, thus triggering only a two-year statute of limitations for claims for back pay.

Quesenberry v. Volvo Trucks North America (No. 10-1491)

Decision Date: July 11, 2011

In a dispute involving whether a collective bargaining agreement permitted defendant to make unilateral changes to the health benefits of retirees from its assembly plant after the agreement expired, judgment of the district court in favor of plaintiffs is affirmed where defendant is prohibited from such modifications unless it followed the mechanism agreed to by both parties in the agreement, which it failed to do.

Okoli v. City of Baltimore (No. 08-2198)

Decision Date: August 9, 2011

In a Title VII action for harassment and retaliation, summary judgment in favor of the defendant is reversed where plaintiff's allegations that her boss forcibly kissed her, fondled her leg, propositioned her, asked sexually explicit questions, described sexual activities he wished to perform, and then, after she spurned the advances and filed a harassment complaint, fired her are sufficient to sustain claims of hostile work environment, quid pro quo harassment, and retaliation.

West Virginia CWP Fund v. Stacy (No. 11-1020 )

Decision Date: December 7, 2011

In a challenge to an administrative order conferring benefits on a surviving spouse under the Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA), as amended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, order is upheld where under Section 422(l) of the BLBA, a surviving spouse is automatically entitled to benefits without having to establish that the miner's death was due to pneumoconiosis

Bullock v. Napolitano (No.10-1222)

Decision Date: January 23, 2012

In racial discrimination action against the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, originally filed in a North Carolina state court and removed to federal court, the district court's grant of a motion to dismiss is affirmed, where: 1) the state court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the United States and the Secretary of Homeland Security did not consent to be sued in a North Carolina state court under Title VII; and 2) removal to federal court, under the doctrine of derivative jurisdiction, did not cure that jurisdictional defect. Read more...

Wachovia Securities, LLC v. Brand (No. 10-2111)

Decision Date: February 16, 2012

On a motion to confirm an arbitration award in favor of former employees who asserted that their former employer's claims against them were frivolous, the decision of the district court upholding the award is affirmed, where: 1) the arbitration panel was not compelled to follow state procedural mandates in the arbitration; 2) even if the state procedures did apply in arbitration, the employer did not allege misconduct by the arbitrators; 3) the employer did not demonstrate that the arbitrators manifestly disregarded the law when they awarded the employees $1.1 million in attorneys' fees and costs under the South Carolina Frivolous Civil Proceedings Act.

Republic Franklin Insurance Co. v. Albemarle County School Board (No. 10-1961 )

Decision Date: February 24, 2012

In a suit by an insurer for a declaratory judgment that it owed no duty to defend or indemnify its insured in an action commenced by the insured's employees for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the district court's grant of summary judgment to the insurer is reversed, where: 1) the underlying FLSA complaint alleged a claim for a "wrongful act" covered by the policy; and 2) liquidated damages and attorneys' fees claimed because of the FLSA violations would be "losses" covered by the policy.

Gerner v. County of Chesterfield (No. 11-1218)

Decision Date: March 16, 2012

In a Title VII sex discrimination suit alleging that the plaintiff's former employer offered her a less favorable severance package than that offered male employees holding similar positions, the district court's dismissal for failure to allege an "adverse employment action" is reversed and the case remanded, where: 1) the district court erred in dismissing on the theory that the discriminatory denial of a noncontractual employment benefit cannot constitute an adverse employment action; and 2) it was not necessary to allege that the employer made its purportedly discriminatory severance offer before it terminated her employment.

Harman Mining Co. v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, DOL (No. 05-1620)

Decision Date: May 15, 2012

In a case in which an administrative law judge (ALJ) found that a man suffered disabling obstructive lung disease arising out of his work as a coal miner and awarded his widow black lung benefits payable by his former employer, a petition for review is denied, where the award of benefits found support in the record and accorded with the Administrative Procedure Act, as the ALJ properly evaluated the appropriate weight to accord conflicting medical opinions.

Sydnor v. Fairfax County (No. 11-1573)

Decision Date: June 19, 2012

In a discrimination case against plaintiff's former employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. section 12101 et seq., for denying her a reasonable accommodation following her foot surgery, the district court's dismissal of suit after concluding plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies by not filing her proposed accommodation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is reversed where plaintiff's administrative remedies were adequately exhausted.

Hutchins v. US Department of Labor (No. 11-1375 )

Decision Date: June 21, 2012

In an action brought by a former letter carrier who was injured on the job and collected Workers' Compensation, alleging that the Department of Labor's taking from her state court settlement the amount provided by Workers' Compensation violated both FECA and the Constitution, the district court's determination that plaintiff must reimburse the Department of Labor out of a money judgment she obtained in a state court action against the Town of Ninety Six is affirmed where the Town of Ninety Six, South Carolina qualifies as a "person other than the United States" under 5 U.S.C. section 8132.

Kensington Volunteer Fire v. Montgomery County, MD (No. 11-1659 )

Decision Date: June 27, 2012

In an action brought by volunteer fire and rescue departments against a county and its officials, contending that defendants eliminated part of plaintiffs' funding in retaliation for plaintiffs' opposition to legislation supported by defendants, the District Court's dismissal is affirmed where finding that certain individual defendants are protected by legislative immunity and because the individual plaintiffs were not county employees, they could not bring an abusive discharge claim under state law.

Wheeling Hospital, Inc. v. The Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley (No. 11-1694 )

Decision Date: June 27, 2012

In a putative class action to collect amounts allegedly owed to them by employee benefit plans established by the OV Health System Parties, the District Court's denial of the plan administrator's motion to dismiss is reversed where it erred in the determination that the administrator defaulted on its right to arbitrate.

Brooks v. Arthur (No. 11-1899 )

Decision Date: July 9, 2012

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 brought by corrections officers at the Correctional Unit in Rustburg, Virginia, alleging that the defendants unlawfully fired them for exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech, the District Court's grant of summary judgment to defendants is affirmed where under Supreme Court jurisprudence, complaints about the employee's own duties that are filed with an employer using an internal grievance procedure, do not relate to a matter of public concern and accordingly may give rise to discipline without imposing any special burden of justification on the government employer.

EEOC v. Randstad (No. 11-1759)

Decision Date: July 18, 2012

District court's denial of a request by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) seeking judicial enforcement of its subpoena against a defendant, a provider of temporary staffing services, arising from a discrimination charge brought by defendant's former employee, is reversed and remanded where: 1) the EEOC had jurisdiction under Title VII and the ADA to seek enforcement of the administrative subpoena; 2) all of the EEOC's requested materials fall within the broad definition of relevance application to EEOC administrative subpoenas; and 3) the evidence proffered by the defendant was insufficient as a matter of law to support a finding that the costs of compliance rise to the level of an undue burden.

McCorkle v. Bank of Am. Corp. (No. 11-1668 )

Decision Date: July 25, 2012

In plaintiffs' class action suit against Bank of America, claiming violations of certain provisions of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), district court's order dismissing a count claiming a violation of the anti-backloading rules is affirmed, as plaintiffs' anti-backloading theory hinged on a finding that the Plan's normal retirement age (NRA) is invalid, and here, the plaintiffs have conceded that the Plan's NRA is valid with respect to section 1002(24).

WEC Carolina Energy Solutions LLC v. Miller (No. 11-1201 )

Decision Date: July 26, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against its former employee and a competitor, alleging a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. section 1030, district court's judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed, as the CFAA provides no relief for defendants' alleged conduct because CFAA does not impose liability on employees who violate a use policy, but rather, the CFAA limits liability to individuals who access computers without authorization or who obtain or alter information beyond the bounds or their authorized access.

Westmoreland Coal Co. Inc. v. Sharpe (No. 10-2327)

Decision Date: August 20, 2012

An employer's petition for review of the Benefits Review Board's judgment in favor of the wife of a deceased coal miner on her living miner's and survivor claims, is denied where: 1) the Board's rulings that the ALJ abused his discretion in granting the employer's modification request and that the ALJ's erroneous decision was subject to outright reversal will not be disturbed, as unlike the 2008 ALJ decision, the 2009 Board decision acknowledged and applied the correct legal principles, arriving at the conclusion that retroactively denying the deceased employee's living miner's benefits award, in order to foil his widow's good faith survivor claim, would not render justice under the Black Lung Benefits Act; and 2) the Board appropriately applied the doctrine of offensive nonmutual collateral estoppel in approving the widow's survivor's claim.

US Foodservice, Inc. v. Truck Drivers & Helpers Local Union No. 355 (No. 12-1108)

Decision Date: November 30, 2012

In an employer's suit against a union seeking recovery of allegedly mistaken contributions under both ERISA section 403 and the federal common law of unjust enrichment, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer is reversed and remanded where the plan administrator's determination that the contributions were not made by mistake was not an abuse of discretion.

Reynolds v. Am. Red Cross Nat'l (No. 11-2278 )

Decision Date: December 7, 2012

In plaintiff's suit for disability discrimination against his former employer, local chapter of the Red Cross, judgment of the district court is: 1) affirmed as to the judgment with regard to the primary ADA claim; 2) affirmed as to the judgment regarding plaintiff's retaliation claim; 3) affirmed as to the judgment regarding plaintiff's confidentiality claim; and 4) vacated as to the court's ruling that the Chapter and the National Red Cross can be aggregated in order to meet the fifteen employee threshold required for an "employer" under the ADA, because the employer's cross appeal is unnecessary where an appellee seeks nothing more than to preserve a judgment in its favor.

Laing v. Federal Express Corporation (No. 11-2116 )

Decision Date: January 9, 2013

In suit against defendant alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), by terminating her employment in retaliation for her decision to take medical leave and by failing to restore her to an equivalent position upon her return from leave, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed, where: 1) plaintiff fails to point to any evidence that defendant treated similarly situated employees who had not taken FMLA leave more favorably; and 2) the record shows that defendant would have suspended and terminated plaintiff's employment regardless of her decision to take leave.

Young v. UPS (No. 11-2078 )

Decision Date: January 9, 2013

In discrimination action against employer claiming violations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed, where: 1) plaintiff's ADA claim fails because she cannot establish a disability; 2) where a policy treats pregnant workers and non-pregnant workers alike, the employer has complied with the PDA, and therefore the UPS policy is not direct evidence of discrimination; and 3) plaintiff cannot establish that similarly situated employees received more favorable treatment than she did, and therefore she cannot establish the fourth element of the prima facie case for pregnancy discrimination.

Helton v. AT&T Inc. (No. 11-2153)

Decision Date: March 6, 2013

Judgment for plaintiff against defendant-employer on ERISA claim alleging defendant unreasonably denied plaintiff's claim and failed to adequately notify her of a material change to its pension plan that allowed her to collect full benefits earlier than she had originally understood, is affirmed, where the district court: 1) properly considered limited evidence outside of the administrative record but known to defendant when it rendered plaintiff's benefits determination; 2) correctly determined that defendant breached its statutory and fiduciary duties to plaintiff; and 3) did not err in awarding plaintiff her lost benefits.

Balas v. Huntington Ingalls Industries (No. 12-1201)

Decision Date: March 15, 2013

Denial of relief on claims of discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment, brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. section 2000e, as well as wrongful discharge, assault, and battery, brought under Virginia law is affirmed where the District Court: 1) reasonably construed the scope of her charge of discrimination; 2) properly denied her leave to amend her complaint; 3) properly granted summary judgment to defendant on her claims of retaliatory discharge, assault, and battery.

Trail v. Local 2850 UAW (No. 12-1632)

Decision Date: March 21, 2013

Dismissal of plaintiff's claim alleging that defendant-union officials violated the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (Act) by retaliating against her for reporting their supposed misconduct to the regional office is affirmed, where: 1) plaintiff did not speak on a matter of union concern when she reported the alleged pornography incident to Region 8; and thus, 2) the district court thus did not err in holding that she failed to state a claim under the Act

Glynn v. EDO Corporation (No. 12-1160)

Decision Date: March 21, 2013

Summary judgment for defendants in False Claims Act (FCA) retaliation suit is affirmed, where plaintiff employee was not engaged in activity that qualified him for protection under the FCA's anti-retaliation provision.

Muriithi v. Shuttle Express, Inc. (No. 11-1445)

Decision Date: April 1, 2013

District court's refusal to compel arbitration pursuant to a provision in the parties' franchise agreement is vacated and remanded, where the district court erred in concluding that: 1) the class action waiver was an unconscionable contract provision; and 2) the other two challenged provisions regarding splitting arbitration fees, and a one-year limitations period, also rendered the arbitration clause unconscionable.

Mayo v. Board of Educ. (No. 11-1816)

Decision Date: April 11, 2013

Dismissal of class action brought by plaintiff-temporary employees alleging that they were entitled to the benefits of an arbitration award entered as the result of an arbitration between the School Board and the Union, as well as benefits from the underlying CBA is affirmed, where: 1) the Union adequately consented to the notice of removal; 2) the plaintiffs' complaint failed to state a claim for relief; and 3) the district court did not err in striking the plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration.

Hegab v. Long (No. 12-1182)

Decision Date: April 25, 2013

The district court properly dismissed plaintiff's action brought under the Administrative Procedure Act against defendant and its Director to reverse defendant's decision revoking plaintiff's top secret security clearance following his marriage, to reinstate his security clearance, and to award him back pay, benefits, and attorneys' fees, where plaintiff's complaint merely challenges the merits of the defendant's security clearance decision and his conclusory constitutional claims are unsuccessful attempts to circumvent the undisputed proposition that the Court will not review the merits of a security clearance decision.

Baldwin v. City of Greensboro (No. 12-1722)

Decision Date: May 6, 2013

Summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff's claims under the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) are affirmed, where: 1) the four-year federal "catch-all" statute of limitations, 28 U.S.C. section 1658(a), applies to plaintiff's USERRA claims; and 2) plaintiff did not file his action within four years of its accrual, notwithstanding his tolling arguments.

Wilson v. Dollar General Corporation (No. 12-1573)

Decision Date: May 17, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant-employer on plaintiff's claim that defendant failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for his disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act is affirmed, where: 1) plaintiff had standing to maintain his claim despite his bankruptcy filing because, due to the powers vested in the Chapter 13 debtor and trustee, a Chapter 13 debtor may retain standing to bring his pre-bankruptcy petition claims; but 2) plaintiff was unable to show he could perform the essential functions of his position with a reasonable accommodation

Westmoreland Coal Company v. Cochran (No. 11-1839)

Decision Date: June 4, 2013

Petition for review of the decision by the Benefits Review Board to award black lung benefits to petitioner's former employee, is denied, where: 1) the award of benefits is supported by the substantial evidence in the record; 2) the Board properly affirmed the ALJ's finding that the former employee suffers from legal pneumoconiosis; and 3) the ALJ properly placed the burden of proof on the former employee to establish the existence of legal pneumoconiosis.

Union Carbide Corporation v. Richards (No. 12-1294)

Decision Date: July 5, 2013

In consolidated cases involving claims for survivors\' benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA), the Department of Labor Benefits Review Board\'s awards of survivor benefits to widows of coal miners are affirmed, where: 1) because a recent amendment to the BLBA created a new cause of action that was unavailable to the widows when they brought their initial claims, res judicata does not bar their subsequent claims; and 2) the deceased husbands were both determined to be eligible to receive BLBA benefits at the time of their deaths, the widows meet the dependency and relationship criteria for eligible survivors, and thus, the widows are entitled to automatic derivative benefits under 30 U.S.C. section 932(l).

NLRB v. Enterprise Leasing Company (No. 12-1514 )

Decision Date: July 17, 2013

The President's three January 4, 2012 appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are constitutionally infirm, because the appointments were not made during "the Recess of the Senate," which is limited to intersession recesses, and accordingly, the NLRB's applications for enforcement of its orders are denied.

Mingo Logan Coal Company v. Owens (No. 11-2418)

Decision Date: July 31, 2013

Petition for review of an order of the Benefits Review Board (BRB) affirming the Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) award of benefits to claimant, is denied, where: 1) the ALJ did not in fact apply rebuttal limitations to petitioner; instead, the ALJ considered all of the evidence that petitioner offered to demonstrate that pneumoconiosis did not cause or substantially contribute to claimant's total disability, and the Board affirmed the ALJ's analysis; and 2) petitioner's other challenges to the ALJ's factual findings and sufficiency of the evidence lack merit.

Waugh Chapel South, LLC v. United Food and Commercial Workers (No. 12-1429 )

Decision Date: August 26, 2013

Dismissal of plaintiffs' action under the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) alleging that defendants orchestrated fourteen separate legal challenges against their commercial real estate project in order to force plaintiffs to terminate their relationship with a non-unionized supermarket, which plaintiffs allege was an illicit "secondary boycott," is: 1) affirmed in part, where the district court correctly concluded that defendant Fund is not a "labor organization" under the National Labor Relations Act; but 2) vacated in part and remanded, where under the "sham litigation" exception to the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, the pleadings and evidence in this case are sufficient to show that the defendant unions have abused their right to petition the courts beyond the point of constitutional protection.

Durden v. US (No. 12-2212 )

Decision Date: November 20, 2013

Dismissal of plaintiff's Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) action against the government alleging that the Army was negligent and liable for the sexual assault against her by a U.S. Army Specialist in her residence on Fort Bragg, is affirmed, where: 1) the complaint fails to establish that the Army breached a duty to plaintiff under North Carolina law; 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by ruling on the government's motion without granting discovery to plaintiff; but 3) the district court erred in its alternative holding because although the government's ability to control a tortfeasor must be independent of the tortfeasor's status as a government employee, knowledge of the tortfeasor's propensity for violence or criminal history gained as a result of such status does not, per se, nullify an FTCA claim.

Summers v. Altarum Institute, Corporation (No. 13-1645 )

Decision Date: January 23, 2014

Summary judgment for defendant-employer in an action alleging disability discrimination and failure to accommodate is reversed and remanded, where: 1) pursuant to recent amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a sufficiently severe temporary impairment may constitute a disability; and 2) the district court erred in holding to the contrary.

McCray v. Maryland Department of Transportation (No. 13-1215 )

Decision Date: January 30, 2014

Dismissal of plaintiff's employment discrimination suit is: 1) vacated in part and remanded, where plaintiff's complaint alleges discriminatory conduct that occurred before any legislative activity and the suit was dismissed before plaintiff had an opportunity to discover evidence necessary to her claims; but 2) affirmed in part, where plaintiff's age discrimination and disability discrimination claims are barred by sovereign immunity

EEOC v. Baltimore County (No. 13-1106 )

Decision Date: March 31, 2014

In an action alleging that defendant-county's employee retirement benefit plan unlawfully discriminated against older county employees based on their age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), partial summary judgment in favor of plaintiff-EEOC on the issue of liability is affirmed, where: 1) the district court correctly determined that defendant-county's plan violated the ADEA, because the plan's employee contribution rates were determined by age, rather than by any permissible factor; and 2) the ADEA's "safe harbor provision" applicable to early retirement benefit plans does not shield defendant-county from liability for the alleged discrimination.

Eleventh Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia

Myers v. Central Fla. Invs., Inc. (No. 08-16291)

Decision Date: January 6, 2010

In a battery and sexual harassment action, partial judgment for plaintiff and for defendants is affirmed where: 1) defendants failed to show that the compensatory award for emotional damages equal to a claimant's annual income evinced prejudice, passion or corruption on the part of the jury; 2) the $506,847.75 punitive award bore a reasonable relationship both to the harm plaintiff suffered and to the harm likely to result should defendants not be penalized now; and 3) plaintiff was not a prevailing party on her Title VII claim and thus was not entitled to attorney's fees.

Harrison v. Benchmark Elecs. Huntsville, Inc. (No. 08-16656)

Decision Date: January 12, 2010

In an action claiming that defendant-employer made an improper medical inquiry in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), summary judgment for defendant is reversed where: 1) 42 U.S.C. section 12112(d)(2) did not limit coverage to applicants who were also "qualified individuals with disabilities"; and 2) while the district court correctly concluded that employers may conduct follow-up questioning in response to a positive drug test, it failed to acknowledge any limits on this type of questioning.

Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (No. 07-10270)

Decision Date: January 21, 2010

In a hostile work environment action based on the frequent use of gender derogatory language addressed specifically to women as a group in the workplace, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where the evidence was sufficient to afford the inference that the offending conduct was based on the sex of the employee.

Mora v. Jackson Mem. Found., Inc. (No. 08-16113)

Decision Date: February 23, 2010

In an Age Discrimination in Employment Act action, summary judgment for defendant is vacated and remanded where a reasonable juror could accept that plaintiff's supervisor made discriminatory-sounding remarks and that the remarks were sufficient evidence of a discriminatory motive which was the "but for" cause of plaintiff's dismissal.

Abel v. S. Shuttle Servs., Inc. (No. 10-10659)

Decision Date: September 21, 2010

In an action alleging violations of the overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act by an airport shuttle driver, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where defendant's airport shuttle van drivers fell under the Motor Carrier Act exemption in 29 U.S.C. section 213(b)(1).

Dixon v. The Hallmark Cos. (No. 10-10047)

Decision Date: December 10, 2010

In an action alleging claims of religious discrimination, retaliation, and failure to accommodate religious beliefs in violation of Title VII, and retaliation and housing discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed in part where plaintiffs called attention to no statutory or case law that could reasonably be believed to prohibit a private employer from keeping its own workplace free of religious references. However, the order is vacated in part where, drawing inferences in favor of plaintiffs, as is required at this stage, a reasonable jury could find that plaintiff's supervisor's alleged comment constituted direct evidence of religious discrimination.

Diaz v. Jaguar Restaurant Group, LLC (No. 09-16046)

Decision Date: December 13, 2010

In an action against plaintiff's former employer for unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the district court's holding that plaintiff was an exempt administrative employee under the FLSA is reversed and the matter is remanded for a trial on damages where the administrative exemption issue was not tried by implied consent as plaintiff's testimony was relevant to another defense in this case: defendant's independent contractor defense.

D.C. Circuit

Appeals from federal district (trial level) courts in the District of Columbia

Miller v. Hersman (No. 08-5494)

Decision Date: February 5, 2010

In a sex and age discrimination action, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where: 1) defendant failed to carry its burden to show that plaintiff did not timely contact an EEO counselor and thus did not exhaust his administrative remedies; and 2) plaintiff did not fail to respond to defendant's exhaustion argument.

Schuler v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (No. 08-7115)

Decision Date: February 16, 2010

In an action against an accounting firm alleging that the firm refused to make plaintiffs partners because of their ages, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed in part where: 1) plaintiff did not make out a claim under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act because he failed to bring a claim involving \"discrimination in compensation\" and point to a \"discriminatory compensation decision or other practice\"; and 2) plaintiff failed to provide any basis upon which a reasonable jury could disbelieve defendant\'s primary explanation for not making him a partner. However, the judgment is reversed in part where plaintiff could state a claim under the New York Human Rights Law by alleging that a discriminatory act occurred in New York.

Pardo-Kronemann v. Donovan (No. 08-5155)

Decision Date: April 16, 2010

In an action by an attorney at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) alleging that HUD retaliated against him in violation of Title VII by transferring him to a non-legal position and by declaring him absent without leave when he failed to report to his new job, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed in part where defendant reasonably concluded that approving plaintiff's leave under the circumstances would set a bad precedent for other employees. However, the judgment is reversed in part where: 1) a reasonable jury to question plaintiff's supervisor's credibility and therefore the legitimacy of HUD's proffered reason for the transfer; and 2) a reasonable jury could conclude that the transfer qualified as an adverse employment action.

McFadden v. Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP (No. 08-7140)

Decision Date: June 29, 2010

In an action against a law firm alleging violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. section 1981, and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act (DCHRA), summary judgment for defendants is affirmed in part where the district court correctly held that plaintiff produced insufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to hold pretextual defendant's proffered non-discriminatory reasons for not reassigning her and for terminating her. However, the judgment is reversed in part where there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether plaintiff was prejudiced by the alleged interference with her FMLA rights.

Mogenhan v. Napolitano (No. 08-5457)

Decision Date: July 27, 2010

In an action against the Secret Service claiming that it violated the Rehabilitation Act by retaliating against plaintiff for filing a discrimination complaint and by failing to reasonably accommodate her disability, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed in part where there was no genuine dispute that the Service reasonably accommodated plaintiff's disability. However, the ruling is reversed in part on the ground that the retaliatory actions plaintiff alleged might well have dissuaded a reasonable person from engaging in protected activity.

Payne v. Salazar (No. 09-5291)

Decision Date: September 7, 2010

In an action alleging retaliation in violation of Title VII, dismissal of the action for failure to exhaust administrative remedies is affirmed in part where the district court properly held that plaintiff failed to exhaust one of her claims. However, the order is reversed in part where an employee's right to trial de novo -- whether her employer is the federal government or a private company -- means that she is entitled to a plenary trial of whatever claims she brings to court, and it does not mean that she must sue on claims she has no interest in pursuing.

Ford v. Mabus (No. 09-5041)

Decision Date: December 10, 2010

In an action by a federal government employee, alleging discrimination on the basis of age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), judgment for defendant is reversed where, because of what the court had called ADEA section 633a\'s \"sweeping\" language --\"all [federal government] personnel actions . . . shall be made free from any discrimination based on age\"-- plaintiffs may establish liability, though not necessarily entitlement to such remedies as reinstatement and backpay, by showing that consideration of age was a factor in the challenged personnel action.

California Supreme Court

Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno (No. S174475)

Decision Date: February 24, 2011

In a labor dispute involving Labor Code section 98 et seq., California Supreme Court holds that a provision in an arbitration agreement requiring waiver of by an employee of his right to a Berman hearing as a condition of employment is unconscionable and unenforceable as contrary to public policy.

Motheral v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (No. C063646)

Decision Date: August 25, 2011

In a petition for review of a judgment of the defendant-Board denying reconsideration of an administrative decision calculating petitioner's disability benefits based solely on his full-time employment at minimum wage, Lab. Code section 4653, judgment is reversed where section 4454 mandates the inclusion of the market value of petitioner's living quarters, utilities, and car allowance.

Chan v. Judicial Council (No. B224332)

Decision Date: September 15, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court granting summary adjudication in respondent's favor in an action alleging that respondent violated appellants' due process and equal protection rights by requiring that they pass new rigorous certifying exams in order to remain court interpreters and by allowing certain interpreters to be exclusively grandfathered in or temporarily exempted from these new certifying exams, judgment is affirmed where: 1)appellants' due process claim fails because there is no protectable property interest in being a certified interpreter; 2) appellants' equal protection cause of action cannot be established because they were not similarly situated to the exempted interpreters; and 3) appellants are not entitled to declaratory or injunctive relief.

Nicholas Laboratories, LLC v. Chen (No. G044105 )

Decision Date: October 12, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court denying defendant-former employee\'s claim for statutory and/or contractual indemnification after prevailing in an action by his former employer, judgment is affirmed where: 1) Labor Code section 2802 does not require an employer to reimburse its employee for attorney fees incurred in the employee\'s successful defense of the employer\'s action; and 2) Corporations Code section 317 does not apply to limited liability companies.

Brennan v. Townsend & O'Leary Enterprises, Inc. (No. G042398)

Decision Date: October 18, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court granting defendant's motion for JNOV in plaintiff's action for hostile work environment, judgment is affirmed where insufficient evidence supported the jury's finding that plaintiff was subjected to severe or pervasive harassment based on her gender

Molina v. Board of Administration, California Public Employee's Retirement System (No. BS121118)

Decision Date: September 29, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court denying a petition to include in petitioner's retirement pension certain proceeds from the settlement of a wrongful termination action, judgment is affirmed where under the explicit language of the settlement agreement, the proceeds constitute neither "payrate" nor "special compensation" and therefore are not taken as "compensation earnable."

Vogt v. Herron Construction, Inc. (No. E052434 )

Decision Date: November 1, 2011

In a tort and injury action for respondeat superior liability, summary judgment in favor of the defendant is reversed where the court erred in holding that employee had not been acting in the course and scope of his employment when he ran over plaintiff with his personal truck while accommodating a construction site request to move the truck.

County of Kern v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd (No. F057718 )

Decision Date: October 31, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court affirming an administrative decision in a claim for worker's compensation, judgment is affirmed where a volunteer firefighter with a local nonprofit firefighting organization was a county employee for purposes of workers' compensation coverage under Labor Code section 3361.1.

Jaramillo v. County of Orange (No. G043142 )

Decision Date: November 8, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court awarding plaintiff backpay for the period between his summary dismissal and his plea of no contest to two felony counts, judgment is affirmed where summary termination without notice, or the opportunity for an administrative appeal, violated the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBRA), and because the court correctly denied preclusive effect to either the felony convictions or certain waivers plaintiff signed purporting to waiving POBRA protections

Retired Employees Assn. v. Co. of Orange (No. S184059)

Decision Date: November 21, 2011

In a certified question to the Court, question is answered as follows: under California law, a county and its employees can form an implied contract that confers vested rights to health benefits on retired county employees if there is no legislative prohibition against such arrangements, such as a statute or ordinance.

Sky Sports, Inc. v. Superior Court (Hogan) (No. B233820 )

Decision Date: December 15, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court finding that petitioner has waived its right to compel arbitration in a labor and employment class action lawsuit, judgment is reversed where the Code of Civil Procedure section 1281.21 requirements to compel arbitration were not satisfied until the class was certified, and therefore, any purported delay in bringing a motion to compel arbitration does not constitute a waiver of the right

SEIU Local 1021 v. San Joaquin County (No. C066861 )

Decision Date: December 28, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the trial court denying plaintiff's motion to compel arbitration in an action for wrongful termination, judgment is reversed where: 1) the parties agreed to arbitrate; and 2) real-party's application for retirement benefits while the parties were selecting an arbitrator did not constitute a waiver of the right to arbitrate.

Harris v. Superior Court (Liberty Mutual Ins. Co.) (No. S156555 )

Decision Date: December 29, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the appeals court reversing the trial court's order partially decertifying plaintiffs' class and denying their motion for summary adjudication, judgment is reversed where plaintiff-insurance adjusters are not exempted from overtime compensation requirements.

Bridgeford v. Pacific Health Corp. (No. B227486)

Decision Date: January 18, 2012

In a class action alleging wage and hour violations in which the plaintiffs also sought statutory penalties as a representative enforcement action under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA), the trial court's order sustaining a demurrer to the complaint is reversed, where: 1) the sustaining of the demurrer to the class action allegations based on collateral estoppel was error, as the plaintiffs, who were unnamed putative class members in a similar previous action against the defendants, were not bound by collateral estoppel with respect to any issue decided in connection with the denial of class certification in that action; and 2) the dismissal of the plaintiffs' individual claims and representative claims under PAGA was error, as the trial court did not address those claims and the defendants conceded there was no basis to dismiss them.

Joaquin v. City of Los Angeles (B226685)

Decision Date: January 23, 2012

In a Fair Employment and Housing Act suit alleging that the plaintiff's termination was in retaliation for filing a sexual harassment complaint against a coworker, judgment in favor of the plaintiff is reversed, where the plaintiff did not present substantial evidence that his termination was motivated by retaliatory animus. Read more...

Ajamian v. CantorCO2e, L.P. (No. A131025)

Decision Date: February 16, 2012

A trial court order denying a petition to compel arbitration under an employment contract is affirmed, where: 1) the employer failed to establish that the breadth of the arbitration provision constituted clear and unmistakable evidence of an intent to delegate issues of the provision's enforceability to the arbitration panel; 2) the trial court did not err in ruling that the entirety of the arbitration provision was unenforceable on the grounds of unconscionability; and 3) the petitioner did not become bound by an arbitration provision in the company handbook after the termination of the employment agreement.

Barber v. California Dep't of Corrections and Rehabilitation (No. E052296)

Decision Date: February 15, 2012

On a former parole agent's petition for writ of mandamus, seeking production of his personnel and internal affairs files from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the district court's denial of the petition is affirmed, where the petitioner did not have a right under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act to review his records after he was no longer employed with the CDCR. Read more...

Harris v. City of Santa Monica (No. S181004 )

Decision Date: February 7, 2013

Judgment overturning damages verdict is affirmed, where: 1) under the California FEHA, when a plaintiff has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that discrimination was a substantial factor motivating his or her termination, the employer is entitled to demonstrate that legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons would have led it to make the same decision at the time; 2) if the employer proves by a preponderance of the evidence that it would have made the same decision for lawful reasons, then the plaintiff cannot be awarded damages, backpay, or reinstatement; but 3) plaintiff may be entitled to declaratory or injunctive relief to stop discriminatory practices, or reasonable attorney's fees and costs; and 4) the jury must be instructed the same.

County of LA v. LA County Employee Relations Commission (Service Employees International Union) (No. S191944)

Decision Date: May 30, 2013

The Court of Appeal's conclusion that plaintiff-county's non-union member employees were entitled to notice and an opportunity to opt out before their home addresses and telephone numbers could be disclosed to SEIU the exclusive bargaining representative of all plaintiff-county's employees, is reversed, where: 1) although the plaintiff-county's employees have a cognizable privacy interest in their home addresses and telephone numbers, the balance of interests strongly favors disclosure of this information to the union that represents them; 2) procedures may be developed for employees who object to this disclosure; but 3) the Court of Appeal exceeded its authority in this administrative mandate proceeding by attempting to impose specific procedures on the parties.

City of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (Engineers & Architects Association) (No. S192828)

Decision Date: June 20, 2013

The Court of Appeals' conclusion that petitioner-city could not be compelled to arbitrate the union's claims regarding a furloughs dispute because arbitration would constitute an unlawful delegation to the arbitrator of discretionary policy-making powers that the city's charter vested in its city council, is reversed, where: 1) of the dispute at issue here does not constitute an unlawful delegation of discretionary authority to the arbitrator; and 2) the city is contractually obligated to arbitrate the employee furloughs dispute

Federal Circuit

Appeals from Merit Systems Protection Board and other federal agencies

Romero v. Department of Defense (No. 2010-3137 )

Decision Date: October 3, 2011

In a petition for review of a decision of the Board of Merits affirming the removal of petitioner from his position as a Department of Defense (DoD) auditor for failing to maintain his Secret level security clearance, decision is affirmed where the DoD complied with its internal procedures in revoking petitioner's security clearance.

Bledsoe v. Merit Systems Protections Board (No. 2011-3054 )

Decision Date: October 3, 2011

In a petition for review of a decision of the Merits Board dismissing petitioner's appeal that the Postal Services wrongly denied her restoration following partial recovery from a compensable injury, 5 C.F.R. section 353.304(c), decision is affirmed because petitioner failed to establish that the Service acted arbitrarily and capriciously and thus entitled her to a jurisdictional hearing

Ford-Clifton v. Department of Veterans Affairs (No. 2011-3103)

Decision Date: October 19, 2011

In an appeal from a judgment of the Merit Systems Protection Board dismissing petitioner's application for review of an administrative denial of her claim for relief after she was removed from a long-held employment position, judgment is affirmed where: 1) petitioner failed to show good cause for her untimely application; and 2) a settlement agreement between the parties operates as a res judicata bar.

Jarrard v. DOJ (No. 2011-3050)

Decision Date: January 13, 2012

In consolidated suits by a preference-eligible veteran who was passed over for hiring as an attorney at the Social Security Administration and the Department of Justice, the Merit Systems Protection Board's denial of the veteran's request for corrective action under the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 is affirmed, as it is was not administratively feasible to apply the veterans' "passover provisions" of 5 USC section 3318 to attorney hiring in the excepted service, and thus the Board did not err in concluding that the agencies were exempt from the provisions of 5 USC section 3318 and were not required to file written reasons with the Office of Personnel Management and seek its permission before selecting candidates other than the plaintiff.

VanDesande v. United States (No. 2011-5012)

Decision Date: March 23, 2012

In a suit by an employee of the US Postal Service (USPS) alleging that the government breached a settlement agreement to resolve her Title VII pregnancy discrimination claim, the Court of Federal Claims' judgment of no jurisdiction is reversed, where the Claims Court erred by holding the settlement agreement not enforceable as a contract within its jurisdiction, as: 1) consent decrees and settlement agreements are not necessarily mutually exclusive; and 2) a settlement agreement, even one embodied in a decree, is a contract within the meaning of the Tucker Act, giving jurisdiction to the Claims Court.

Wilder v. Merit System Protections Board (No. 2011-3105)

Decision Date: April 9, 2012

In a case in which a former civilian employee of the Navy, who was on the job for less than a year but who had previously served for 26 years in the Army, sought to appeal his termination to the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Board's dismissal of the appeal is affirmed, where: 1) the petitioner did not have the right to Board review of his removal because he did not have "one year of current continuous service" as required by statute; and 2) an Office of Personnel Management regulation defining "current continuous service" as limited to "Federal civilian employment" embodied a reasonable interpretation of the statute and was entitled to Chevron deference; and 3) the Board did not have jurisdiction to address the petitioner's assertion that his removal was the product of racial discrimination.

Whitmore v. Dep't of Labor (No. 2011-3084)

Decision Date: May 30, 2012

In an injured emergency medical technician's action against the City of New York and its Parks and Recreation Department, alleging both common law negligence and a cause of action under General Municipal Law section 205-a, the Appellate Division's judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed, where: 1) the city was also the plaintiff's employer; 2) the plaintiff received workers' compensation payments for his injury; 3) recipients of workers' compensation benefits may not sue their employers in tort under section 205-a; and 4) the negligence claim was properly dismissed because the plaintiff's injuries arose from and were connected with his employment, and an employer cannot be sued in its capacity as property owner in order to circumvent the workers' compnesation scheme.

Preston v. Marathon Oil Co. (No. 2011-1013, 2011-1026 )

Decision Date: July 10, 2012

In a case dealing with the question of whether plaintiff owns patents related to the improvement of machinery used to extract methane gas from water-saturated coal in a coal bed methane gas well, or whether he assigned rights in those patents to defendant pursuant to an employment agreement entered into shortly after he began work as an at-will employee, the District Court's rulings are: 1) affirmed in part as to the ruling that plaintiff assigned his rights in the inventions to defendant pursuant to his employment agreement with defendant; and 2) vacated in part as to the judgment that plaintiff is in breach of that agreement because that assignment was automatic.

Rocha v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd. (No. 12-3087)

Decision Date: July 24, 2012

A final order of the Merit Systems Protection Board (Board) dismissing a petition for review as untimely, arising from a finding by an administrative judge that the Board had no jurisdiction over petitioner's appeal because he was serving under an excepted service appointment in the Federal Career Intern Program at the time of his termination, is affirmed as the Board did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow the petitioner to file his petition for review more than five months after the filing deadline.

Adams v. Dept. of Defense (No. 11-3124 )

Decision Date: August 10, 2012

The decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (Board), holding that it did not have jurisdiction to review petitioner's termination of his employment by the Department of Defense and the Department's denial of his request for voluntary early retirement is affirmed in part and reversed in part where: 1) it was not legal error for the agency to terminate petitioner's employment when he no longer possessed the requisite security clearance status; but 2) the Board's ruling as to its authority to review the denial of petitioner's retirement request is reversed as the Department's retirement decision is reviewable by the Board, independent of the revocation of petitioner's security clearance issue.

Berry v. Conyers (No. 11-3207 )

Decision Date: August 17, 2012

In appeals brought by two employers of the Department of Defense, arising from their suspension and demotion, the decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (Board) holding that the Supreme Court's decision in Department of the Navy v. Egan limits Board review of an otherwise appealable adverse action only if that action is based on eligibility for or a denial, revocation, or suspension of access to classified information, is reversed and remanded, as Egan prohibits Board review of agency determinations concerning eligibility of an employee to occupy a "sensitive" position, regardless of whether the position requires acess to classified information.

Hillyard v. Shinseki (No. 11-7157 )

Decision Date: August 17, 2012

In a veteran's second request for revision following the Veterans Administration's denial of his claim for service connection for a mental injury, the judgment of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims upholding the Board of Veterans Appeals' dismissal is affirmed, as the interpretation of 38 C.F.R. section 1409(c) proffered by the VA is consistent with the language of the regulation and is in harmony with the VA's description of the regulation in its notice of rulemaking.

Beer v. US (No. 10-5012)

Decision Date: October 5, 2012

In an en banc review of a suit brought by current and former Article III judges claiming that Congress violated the Compensation Clause by withholding the salary adjustments established by the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, decision of the Court of Federal Claims dismissing the complaint is reversed, remanded, and Williams v. U.S. is overruled where, in the unique context of the 1989 Act, the Constitution prevents Congress from abrogating that statute's precise and definite commitment to automatic yearly cost of living adjustments for sitting members of the judiciary. Further, because the 1989 Act was enacted after Section 140, the 1989 Act's automatic cost of living adjustments control.

Denny v. Office of Personnel Management (No. 12-3094 )

Decision Date: February 8, 2013

The plain meaning of the relevant statutes demonstrates that the forms of additional pay, including "availability pay", enumerated in 5 USC section 8331(3) are part of basic pay for retirement annuity purposes only when an employee was eligible for and received such additional pay during the employee's high three years of service, and because petitioner did not receive availability pay during the pertinent period, availability pay was appropriately excluded from her annuity calculation

Young v. Department of Housing and Urban Development (No. 2011-3232 )

Decision Date: February 12, 2013

Arbitrator's decision denying plaintiff's grievance is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the ex parte communications from this case were so substantial and so likely to cause prejudice that no employee can fairly be required to be subjected to a deprivation of property under these circumstances so plaintiff is entitled to a new constitutionally correct removal procedure; 2) because the deciding official relied on ex parte communications that were not part of the original proposal for removal, defendant committed procedural error; and 3) the deciding official and the arbitrator erred in basing their decisions, in part, upon similar instances of past misconduct.

Conforto v. Merit Systems Protection Board (No. 12-3119)

Decision Date: April 18, 2013

The Merit Systems Protection Board properly dismissed petitioner's claim that she was forced to retire due to events motivated by age and sex discrimination, and retaliation, where: 1) the Federal Circuit Court has jurisdiction to review a determination by the Board that it lacks statutory jurisdiction over an employee's appeal; and 2) the Board was correct in ruling that petitioner failed to show that her retirement was "involuntary and thus tantamount to forced removal."

MacLean v. Department of Homeland Security (No. 11-3231)

Decision Date: April 26, 2013

The decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board affirming the removal of petitioner from the position of Federal Air Marshal is vacated and remanded where the Board incorrectly interpreted the Whistleblower Protection Act.

Crawford v. Dept. of the Army ( No. 2012-3037 )

Decision Date: June 11, 2013

In an appeal from a final decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board, dismissing as moot petitioner's allegation that the Army failed to comply with an order for corrective action when it assigned him to a position of Program Support Specialist, the Board's decision is affirmed where it did not act arbitrarily or contrary to law

Tierney v. Department of Justice (No. 11-3159)

Decision Date: June 20, 2013

The decision by the Merit Systems Protection Board (Board) denying petitioner's request for corrective action with respect to days for which he alleged that he was improperly charged annual leave or leave without pay while performing reserve military duties, is reversed and remanded, where the Board's decision is not supported by substantial evidence

Cencast Services, L.P. v. US (No. 12-5142 )

Decision Date: September 10, 2013

In consolidated tax refund cases brought by entities that remit payroll and employment taxes on behalf of motion picture and television production companies, the judgment of the United States Court of Federal Claims rejecting plaintiffs' claims for tax refunds is affirmed, where: 1) the scope of plaintiffs' liability for employment taxes under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) and the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) is determined by reference to the employees' employment relationships with the common law employers for which plaintiffs remit taxes; 2) the common law employers cannot decrease their liability by retaining entities such as plaintiffs to actually make the wage payments to the employees; and 3) plaintiff is barred from raising its theory that it overpaid the FUTA and FICA taxes because some of the individuals classified as employees were independent contractors.

Mitchell v. Merit Systems Protection Board (No. 2013-3056 )

Decision Date: January 15, 2014

Dismissal by the Merit Systems Protection Board of petitioner's appeal of her removal from her position as an Assistant United States Attorney is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the seven-plus months during the pendency of petitioner's background check in the months before August 2009 count toward the required 2 years of current continuous service; and as such, 2) petitioner worked for more than two years in the same or similar positions and she comes within the statutory definition of an "employee" who may appeal to the Board.

Cunningham v. US (No. 2013-5055 )

Decision Date: April 9, 2014

In an action for breach of contract, in which plaintiff alleges that defendant-former employer, the government, disclosed details about him to another employer and thereby violated a confidentiality provision of a settlement agreement, the Court of Federal Claims' decision that res judicata barred his claim because plaintiff declined the recission and reinstatement remedies offered by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the Claims Court possessed jurisdiction under the Tucker Act; but 2) because jurisdictional limits on the MSPB's remedial authority did not permit plaintiff to seek monetary damages for defendant's breach of contract, the MSPB's prior judgment of dismissal does not preclude his suit in the Claims Court.

California Court of Appeal

Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC (No. B235158)

Decision Date: June 4, 2012

In light of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) __ U.S. __ [131 S. Ct. 1740], reiterating the rule that the principal purpose of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) is to ensure that arbitration agreements are enforced according to their terms, the trial court\'s rulings are affirmed where it properly ordered this case to arbitration and dismissed class claims.

Gorlach v. Sports Club Co. (No. B233672)

Decision Date: October 16, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against her former employer for various causes of action, including wrongful termination, retaliation, sexual harassment, and defamation, trial court's denial of defendants' motion to compel arbitration is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff is not equitably estopped from denying the existence of the arbitration agreement; and 2) the trial court properly inferred from plaintiff's election not to sign the arbitration agreement that she did not intend to be bound by it, and thus, there is no implied-in-fact arbitration agreement.

See's Candy Shops, Inc. v. Superior Court of San Diego County (No. D060710 )

Decision Date: October 29, 2012

In a wage-and-hour class action suit against defendant See's Candy Shops, Inc., defendant's petition for a writ of mandate challenging an order dismissing its affirmative defenses is granted where, based on the factual record before it, the trial court erred in granting summary adjudication on the two affirmative defenses pertaining to defendant's timekeeping policy that rounds employee punch in/out times to the nearest one-tenth of an hour.

Morgan v. Wet Seal, Inc. (No. A133590 )

Decision Date: November 7, 2012

In plaintiffs' suit against their former employer, a retail company, alleging that the employees were required to purchase the company's clothing and merchandise as a condition of employment, and travel between company locations without reimbursing for mileage, trial court's denial of class certification is affirmed where plaintiffs have failed to provide substantial evidence of a company-wide policy which can be used as a method of establishing liability.

Richey v. Autonation, Inc. (No. B234711 )

Decision Date: November 13, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against his former employers for being terminated from his job four weeks before the expiration of his approved medical leave under the Moore-Brown-Roberti Family Rights Act (CFRA), trial court's decision confirming an arbitrator's award, in denying plaintiff's CFRA claim based on the so-called honest belief or honest suspicion defense, is vacated and remanded where: 1) the honest belief defense accepted by the arbitrator is incompatible with California statutes, regulations and case law and deprived plaintiff of his unwaivable statutory right to reinstatement under section 12945.2(a); and 2) this clear legal error abridged plaintiff's statutory rights under CFRA - rights based on, and intended to further, an important public policy.

Monarrez v. Auto. Club of S. California (No. B233512 )

Decision Date: November 20, 2012

In plaintiff's personal injury suit against the Automobile Club of Southern California and AAA, for sustaining catastrophic injuries when plaintiff was struck by a hit-and-run driver while receiving roadside assistance for a flat tire, trial court's summary judgment in favor of the defendants is reversed and remanded where there are triable issues of material fact as to whether the tow truck company assisting plaintiff is the actual or ostensible agent of defendant, or whether it is an independent contractor.

Franco v. Arakelian Enterprises, Inc. ( No. B232583)

Decision Date: November 26, 2012

In a class action suit against an employer alleging overtime pay, rest and meal period violations, trial court's denial of the employer's petition to compel arbitration is affirmed where: 1) Gentry remains good law because, as required by Concepcion, it does not establish a categorical rule against class action waivers, but instead sets forth several factors to be applied on a case-by-case basis to determine whether a class action waiver precludes employees from vindicating their statutory rights; and 2) as required by Stolt-Nielsen, when a class action waiver is unenforceable under Gentry, the plaintiff's claims must be adjudicated in court, where the plaintiff may file a putative class action.

Faign v. Signature Group Holdings, Inc. (No. B224598)

Decision Date: December 5, 2012

In plaintiff's suit against his former employer for breach of an implied-in-fact agreement to terminate his employment only for good cause, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed where: 1) substantial evidence supports the jury verdict awarding plaintiff $1,347,000 and defendant has shown no legal error or prejudicial abuse of discretion; and 2) the denial of plaintiff's motion for prejudgment interest was proper.

Avidor v. Sutter's Place, Inc. (No. H037142 )

Decision Date: January 23, 2013

In challenge to defendant-employer's tip-pooling requirement by plaintiff-employee card dealers, judgment for defendant is affirmed, where: 1) there was no error in excluding evidence of customers' intent; 2) Labor Code section 351 does not specifically prohibit employer-mandated tip pooling and thus defendant's policy is not illegal as a matter of law; 3) the trial court did not err in finding that any identified employees receiving tips had any supervisory authority; 4) the conversion claim fails because the dealers did not have ownership or possessory rights in the money; and 5) plaintiff's remaining claims fail as a matter of law.

Hatai v. Dept. of Transportation (No. B236757)

Decision Date: March 28, 2013

Judgment for defendant-employer in employment discrimination suit is affirmed, where there was no prejudicial error in the trial court disallowing plaintiff's broad theory that his supervisor discriminated against any employee who was not of Arab descent but did allow plaintiff to present evidence of anti-Asian animus.

Gonzalez v. Downtown LA Motors (No. B235292)

Decision Date: April 2, 2013

Plaintiff-employees were entitled to separate hourly compensation for time spent waiting for repair work or performing other non-repair tasks directed by the employer during their work shifts, as well as penalties under Labor Code section 203(a) in a wage and hour law class action, in which plaintiffs challenged defendant-employer's practice of compensating plaintiffs on the basis of repair tasks completed ("piece-rate") and then allegedly supplementing an employee's pay, if necessary, to cover any shortfall between the piece-rate wages and the minimum wage floor.

Sabey v. City of Pomona (No. B239916)

Decision Date: April 16, 2013

When a partner in a law firm represents a department within a city at an advisory arbitration regarding a personnel matter, and when the city's decision-making body later reviews that arbitrator's award for confirmation or rejection, the principles of due process prohibit the decision maker from being advised on the matter by a different partner from the same law firm.

Choate v. Celite Corporation (No. B239160)

Decision Date: May 2, 2013

A collective bargaining agreement "otherwise provides" and thereby abrogates an employee's statutory right under Labor Code section 227.3 to immediate payment for vested vacation time only if the agreement clearly and unmistakably waives that right, and because the agreement in this case lacked this clarity, defendant was required to immediately pay terminated employees for all their vested vacation time, but the trial court's judgment imposing waiting time penalties is reversed because defendant nonpayment was not "willful."

Shirey v. L.A. County Civil Service Commission (No. B238355)

Decision Date: May 6, 2013

The trial court improperly denied plaintiff's petition challenging plaintiff's discharge from the Sheriff's Department, where: 1) the trial court incorrectly concluded that plaintiff's expunged battery conviction qualified as a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence under the federal Gun Control Act; and thus, 2) defendant abused its discretion in determining the federal gun possession ban applied to plaintiff.

Heyen v. Safeway (No. B237418)

Decision Date: May 23, 2013

Judgment for plaintiff in suit contending defendant-employer should have classified her as "non-exempt" and that she was entitled to overtime pay, is affirmed, where: 1) the trial court did not apply an incorrect legal standard to determine that plaintiff was primarily engaged in non-exempt activities; and 2) the trial court did not fail to properly address the "reasonable expectations" rule.

Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions ( No. B240519 )

Decision Date: July 3, 2013

The trial court's order granting a preliminary injunction requiring defendant to compensate its employee-trailer guards for all on-call time spent in trailers is: 1) affirmed in part, where defendant must compensate the trailer guards for the nighttime hours spent on the jobsites during the week; but 2) reversed in part and remanded, where defendant is permitted to deduct eight hours for sleep time on those weekend days when the trailer guards are on duty for 24 hours, provided the guards are afforded a comfortable place to sleep, the time is not interrupted, the guards are compensated for any period of interruption, and on any day they do not receive at least five consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep time, they are compensated for the entire eight hours.

Acuna v. San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (No. D060064 )

Decision Date: July 18, 2013

Judgment for defendant-employer on plaintiff's action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and related claims is: 1) reversed in part and remanded on plaintiff's causes of action for retaliation under the FEHA and for wrongful termination in violation of public policy based on the retaliation claim, where defendant did not show these claims were untimely as a matter of law; but 2) affirmed in part, as to plaintiff's remaining claims, where the trial court correctly concluded that plaintiff's remaining FEHA claims were time-barred and plaintiff failed to sufficiently state a cause of action on her remaining claims.

Avery v. Integrated Healthcare Holdings, Inc. (No. G046202 )

Decision Date: July 23, 2013

The trial court's order denying defendant's motions to compel plaintiffs to individually arbitrate the wage and hour claims they allege in this class action is affirmed, where: 1) defendant failed to establish plaintiffs agreed to the specific arbitration agreement defendant submitted to the trial court; and 2) without sufficient evidence of the actual arbitration policy to which plaintiffs agreed when they signed the acknowledgments and other documents, the policy may not be enforced against plaintiffs.

Farmers Insurance Exchange v. Superior Court (Wilson) (No. B246901 )

Decision Date: July 23, 2013

Petition for writ of mandate to compel trial court to reconsider its ruling granting plaintiff's motion for class certification based solely on a single appellate court opinion, that was later depublished by the California Supreme Court, is granted, where: 1) the depublication of an opinion can constitute a change in the law sufficient to warrant reconsideration; 2) in this case, where the sole legal basis for the trial court's order was the depublished decision, the depublication order necessarily constituted a change of law pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1008; and 3) under the unique circumstances of this case, it would be an abuse of discretion to deny reconsideration.

Purton v. Marriott International, Inc. (No. D060475)

Decision Date: July 31, 2013

In a personal injury action in which plaintiff alleged that defendant-employee consumed alcoholic beverages at an employer hosted party, became intoxicated, arrived home safely, but when he left to drive a co-worker home, the defendant-employee struck another car and killed its driver, summary judgment for defendant-employer is reversed and remanded, where: 1) an employer may be found liable for its employee's torts as long as the proximate cause of the injury (here, alcohol consumption) occurred within the scope of employment; 2) a reasonable trier of fact could conclude that the employee was acting within the scope of his employment while ingesting alcoholic beverages at the party; and 3) no legal justification exists for terminating the employer's liability as a matter of law simply because the employee arrived home safely from the employer hosted party.

Reilly v. Inquest Technology, Inc. (No. G046291)

Decision Date: July 31, 2013

Judgment for plaintiff awarding him damages for owed commissions for his work as a wholesale sales representative for defendant-manufacturer, including treble damages pursuant to the penalty provisions of the Independent Wholesale Sales Representatives Contractual Relations Act, is affirmed, where: 1) the trial court did not err in concluding that the Act applied; and 2) there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict and damage award.

Bain v. Tax Reducers Inc. (No. H037452)

Decision Date: August 28, 2013

Judgment awarding plaintiff damages for unpaid wages and for breach of contract based on a judicially supervised settlement of plaintiff's wage claim, but holding that defendant's president was not personally liable, is affirmed but modified, where: 1) plaintiff's statutory wage claims under Labor Code sections 202, 203, and 1194, which are subject to a three-year limitations period, were not time-barred because the limitations period was equitably tolled while plaintiff pursued his administrative claim before the Labor Commissioner; 2) plaintiff's claim for a statutory penalty for failure to pay minimum wages under section 1194.2 was time-barred and thus the trial court erred when it imposed that penalty; 3) substantial evidence supports the trial court's finding that plaintiff was an employee under the multi-factor test and there was no prejudicial error in the court's use of the presumption of employment; 4) the trial court did not err in imposing a section 203 penalty for defendant's failure to timely pay final wages upon plaintiff's resignation; and 5) the trial court correctly determined that defendant's president could not be held personally liable for plaintiff's wage claims

Moradi v. Marsh USA, Inc. (No. B239858 )

Decision Date: September 17, 2013

Summary judgment for defendant-employer in an action brought by plaintiff for personal injuries when defendant-employee collided with plaintiff while driving her car, is reversed and remanded, where: 1) because the employer required the employee to use her personal vehicle to travel to and from the office and make other work-related trips during the day, the employee was acting within the scope of her employment when she was commuting to and from work; and 2) defendant-employee's planned stops for frozen yogurt and a yoga class on the way home did not change the incidental benefit to the employer of having the employee use her personal vehicle to travel to and from the office and other destinations; and thus, 3) under the required vehicle exception to the going and coming rule, defendant-employee was acting within the scope of her employment at the time of the accident

Halliburton Energy Services v. Dept. of Transportation (No. F064888 )

Decision Date: October 1, 2013

In consolidated cases, summary judgment in favor of defendant Halliburton is affirmed, where: 1) the undisputed facts demonstrated that defendant cannot be held vicariously liable for the tortious conduct of its employee; 2) the employee was not acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the motor vehicle accident; and 3) the requirements for imposing respondeat superior liability cannot be established.

Davis v. Kiewit Pacific Co. (No. D062388 )

Decision Date: October 8, 2013

The trial court's summary adjudication of plaintiff's claim for punitive damages, concluding there were no triable issues of material fact whether a managing agent of defendant had engaged in or ratified any oppressive, malicious and/or fraudulent conduct against her, in her suit for gender discrimination, harassment and retaliation, is reversed and remanded, where a triable issue of material fact exists for determination by a jury regarding whether certain employees were managing agents of defendant.

Rope v. Auto-Chlor System of Washington, Inc. (No. B242003 )

Decision Date: October 16, 2013

Dismissal of plaintiff's complaint against defendant employer alleging violations of the Donation Protection Act (DPA) and other provisions of the Labor Code, violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and wrongful termination in violation of public policy, when he was fired after advising his employer that he planned to donate a kidney to his physically disabled sister and requested leave to do so, is: 1) affirmed in part, where the trial court properly sustained without leave to amend demurrers to plaintiff's claims for violations of the DPA, violations of the Labor Code, and for direct or perceived disability discrimination under FEHA; and 2) reversed in part, where plaintiff has pleaded facts sufficient to support a claim for association-based disability discrimination and failure to maintain a discrimination free workplace in violation of FEHA, and a common law claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

Garcia v. Governing Board of Bellflower Unified School District (No. B247320 )

Decision Date: October 24, 2013

The trial court's order awarding attorney fees to plaintiff as the prevailing party in a proceeding under the California Public Records Act is affirmed, where the results that plaintiff obtained through this litigation justify the finding that she prevailed.

Cornejo v. Lightbourne (No. C070704 )

Decision Date: October 22, 2013

Dismissal of plaintiff's action for damages for violations of the California Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the WPA is not subject to the Government Claims Act because it has a comprehensive administrative procedure that satisfies the purposes of the presentation procedure in the Claims Act; 2) the trial court erred in concluding that plaintiff was required to file a claim before filing suit; 3) the trial court erred in concluding that the limitations period for actions subject to the claims presentation requirement had expired; and 4) defendant's remaining arguments fail.

Kern, Inyo, & Mono Counties Training Committee v. California Apprenticeship Council (No. A136680 )

Decision Date: October 29, 2013

The trial court improperly overturned defendant-council's decision which found in favor of an applicant apprenticeship committee, where: 1) the trial court incorrectly concluded that an existing program must have been identified as deficient during an audit conducted pursuant to Labor Code section 3073.1 before section 3075,(b)(3) authorizes approval of a new apprenticeship program; 2) defendant-council has authority to identify deficiencies in an existing committee's program during the process of reviewing an application for approval of a new apprenticeship and training program; and 3) substantial evidence supports defendant-council's finding that the existing committee's program was deficient based on its substandard graduation rates.

Poole v. Orange County Fire Authority (No. G047691 )

Decision Date: November 4, 2013

Judgment entered in favor of defendant denying petitioner's requested relief that defendant comply with the requirements of the FireFighters Procedural Bill of Rights (FFBOR), is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the FFBOR provides that a firefighter shall not have any comment adverse to his or her interest entered in his or her personnel file, or any other file used for any personnel purposes by his or her employer, without the firefighter having first read and signed the instrument containing the adverse comment indicating he or she is aware of the comment; 2) the daily logs maintained by the captain on firefighters are used for personnel purposes; and thus, 3) they are subject to provisions of FFBOR.

Yanez v. Plummer (No. C070726 )

Decision Date: November 5, 2013

In an action against defendant-former employer for wrongful discharge and its in-house counsel, for legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud arising out of plaintiff's firing for dishonesty for a discrepancy between a witness statement that plaintiff wrote and a deposition answer he gave concerning a co-employee's on-the-job injury, summary judgment for defendant-attorney is reversed and remanded, where plaintiff has raised a triable issue of material fact that but for defendant-attorney's conduct, defendant-former employer would not have fired plaintiff.

Volpei v. County of Ventura (No. B243954 )

Decision Date: November 7, 2013

A provision in a collective bargaining agreement that the union may submit a grievance to arbitration does not preclude an employee in that union with a statutory grievance against his employer from filing a judicial action, where, as here the agreement does not provide for a clear and unmistakable waiver of plaintiff-employee's right to a judicial forum for his statutory discrimination claims.

Edwards v. Broadwater Casitas Care Center (No. B247596 )

Decision Date: December 5, 2013

Defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's appeal of the trial court's award of cost and attorney's fees against her, following the unsuccessful arbitration of her employment discrimination claim, is denied, where: 1) the trial court's authority to impose costs and attorney's fees was not actually litigated in plaintiff's bankruptcy court proceeding; and 2) the confirmed chapter 13 plan does not preclude plaintiff's appeal challenging the trial court's cost and attorney fees award.

Moncada v. West Coast Quartz Corp. (No. H036728 )

Decision Date: November 25, 2013

In a dispute between plaintiffs, former employees of defendant-company and defendants, shareholders of defendant-company, over a promised retirement bonus that was never paid, judgment for defendants is reversed, where: 1) the first amended complaint states a cause of action for promissory fraud, breach of contract, and promissory estoppel; but 2) the alleged conduct as stated is not extreme or outrageous to support a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress, nor do they sufficiently allege negligent misrepresentation, and 3) estoppel in pais cannot be stated as an independent cause of action in California.

Kurz v. Syrus Systems (No. H038694 )

Decision Date: November 25, 2013

In a wrongful termination action, the trial court's order denying plaintiff's special motion to strike defendant-employer's cross complaint for malicious prosecution is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the malicious prosecution claim arose from petitioning activity protected under California Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16; and 2) defendant-employer does not have a probability of prevailing on the claim because Unemployment Insurance Code section 1960 prohibits an employer from using a decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board as evidence in the employer's malicious prosecution action arising from a former employee's unsuccessful claim for unemployment insurance benefits.

Lexin v. City of San Diego (No. D062970 )

Decision Date: December 23, 2013

In an action arising from the City of San Diego's underfunding of its employment retirement system and a decision by the Board of Directors of the San Diego City Employees' Retirement System (SDCERS) which approved the City's proposal to modify the funding plan to delete the potential of a balloon payment if the underfunded ratio fell to a certain level, in exchange for the City's resolution to indemnify the board members from liability for "any claim or lawsuit" arising from the approval, summary judgment for the plaintiff board members in their declaratory relief action is affirmed, where: 1) the City's resolution requires it to pay the board members' criminal defense costs; and 2) there is no statutory impediment.

Vasquez v. Franklin Management Real Estate (No. B245735 )

Decision Date: December 31, 2013

The trial court's dismissal of plaintiff-employee's claims for constructive discharge in violation of public policy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, which alleged that defendant-employer violated the Labor Code by assigning plaintiff tasks that required extensive use of his vehicle and refusing to reimburse him for mileage is reversed and remanded, where: 1) plaintiff did not assert facts sufficient to support the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim; but 2) plaintiff should have been permitted leave to amend his claim of constructive discharge in violation of public policy.

Taylor v. Nabors Drilling USA, LP (No. B241914 )

Decision Date: January 13, 2014

Judgment for plaintiff-employee in an action alleging hostile work environment sexual harassment is affirmed but modified, where: 1) substantial evidence supports the verdict because a heterosexual male is subjected to harassment because of sex under the FEHA when attacks on his heterosexual identity are used as a tool of harassment in the workplace, irrespective of whether the attacks are motivated by sexual desire or interest; 2) defendant waived or forfeited his claim that the special verdict was fatally defective because it had failed to object before the jury was discharged; 3) a defective special verdict form is subject to harmless error analysis, and here, any error was harmless; 4) the evidence is insufficient to support the award of economic damage so plaintiff's total recovery is reduced from $160,000 to $150,000; and 5) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in calculating the attorney fee award for plaintiff.

Ellis v. U.S. Security Associates (No. A136028 )

Decision Date: March 20, 2014

Dismissal of plaintiff's employment discrimination action alleging three claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and two nonstatutory claims is reversed and remanded, where: 1) defendant had a policy that employees agree upon hiring that any claim or lawsuit must be filed no more than six months after the date of the employment action, and waive any statute of limitations to the contrary, which plaintiff signed; 2) plaintiff filed her action after the six month cut-off date in the agreement; but 3) the shortened limitation provision is unreasonable and against public policy.

Global Hawk Ins. Co. v. Le (No. A137976 )

Decision Date: April 14, 2014

In an suit brought by a truck driver who sustained injuries in an accident during a cross-country trip, summary judgment in favor of employer's insurance carrier are reversed where the trial court erroneously ignored pertinent facts in the case and held that the definition of employee in certain federal regulations, which are not mentioned in the insurance policy, controlled.

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